What do you think of when you eat sausage rolls? For Abigail Donnelly, it invokes memories of her childhood. Her nana used to make the best ones, and Abi was allowed to help make them. They would remove the sausage meat from the casing for the filling, put the seasoned filling onto the lengths of the pastry, and brush them with milk before they were baked. Her family enjoyed nana’s sausage rolls on Saturday afternoons with tea and cold the next morning with tomato sauce.
Abigail uses her nana’s sausage roll recipe to this day. She shares her top tips for making sausage rolls. Once you have the basics down, you can experiment with the fillings to create your own signature sausage roll!
Home-made sausage rolls fillings
As the name suggests, sausage rolls are filled with sausage meat. According to Abi, any sausage is good (even plant-based sausages if you don’t eat meat. You’ll need to add a little coconut oil so the filling doesn’t get too dry when baking). Abi often uses chicken sausage or wors, and even used duck sausages to make a spectacular festive appetiser. If you want to make your filling stretch, she suggests adding fresh breadcrumbs to the filling. Since sausages are already seasoned, you can use them as is, or you add more seasoning to your liking. You can even blend some vegetables and incorporate them into the filling (hidden veggies for the win!).
The type of filling you use can also determine how you serve your sausage rolls. If you’re using lamb sausages, Abi suggests serving them with a dip made with vegetable atchar and yoghurt. Her duck sausage rolls are served with apricot blatjang. These little touches will really make a difference when serving home-made sausage rolls.
There are two routes you can go when it comes it comes to pastry for sausage rolls. You can use ready-made puff pastry or you can make your pastry from scratch. Abi suggests using shortcrust pastry, but if you want a puffier pastry you can also make rough puff pastry.
When making pastry, it’s important that the butter and water are cold. Cold butter will result in a perfect, flaky texture. If your water is not chilled, it may melt the butter while mixing. If you’re making shortcrust pastry, add a little vinegar or lemon juice to the pastry to help soften the gluten, resulting in a flakier crust.
Assembling your sausage rolls
If you made your own pastry, unwrap the pastry and roll it out on a floured surface to a thickness of about 3 mm. Cut in half horizontally. Cut ready-made puff pastry into 2 or 3 rectangles depending on how big you want your sausage rolls. Mould your filling and place in the middle of the pastry. Make sure the filling is evenly distributed so everyone has enough filling. Brush the ends of the pastry with beaten egg, then bring it over the sausage meat and seal using a fork. Brush the top of the sausage rolls with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds if you like. Bake for 15–20 minutes, or until golden, puffed up and cooked through.
To make cocktail sausage rolls, cut sausage rolls into even squares. When cutting, use a sawing motion with your knife, rather than pushing it straight down. This will ensure the pastry doesn’t pinch closed at the ends. You can freeze cocktail sausages unbaked for later. According to Abigail, you should bake them from frozen at 180°C for around 30 minutes.
Easy sausage roll recipe
Ready to try making home-made sausage rolls? Here are some easy recipes to test your skills on.