Sausage Rolls: The Easy Version!
Updated: Jan 29, 2019
As an American, I became hooked on sausage rolls during my study abroad days at Lancaster University. Occasionally (read: almost every day), I would stop in the Gregg's on campus and grab one, marvelling at its savory loveliness. That said, it was much cheaper to buy these little delicacies at the supermarket in prepackaged form, so I took to storing them in our tiny freezer in County College's shared kitchen.
When I returned to the USA a few years later, new husband in tow, I was saddened. Many of my new favorite snacks and meals--the Sunday roast, pork pies, ploughman's lunches, British curries, and of course, sausage rolls--would now be much harder to come by.
Luckily, about a year after we decided to move back to the States, the Great British Bake Off changed my life. Suddenly, it was extremely cool to learn to cook. And while I'd already arguably become much more adept at the art and science of home cooking than most of my generation had at that point thanks to that first year of marriage, it was GBBO that gave me carte blanche to experiment with baking and, most importantly, British recipes.
I quickly learned that sausage rolls were merely a fancier form of pigs in a blanket, which may or may not have been a household staple when I was growing up in the early 90s. I began experimenting with different types of sausages until I settled on the one that tasted most like it belonged inside a sausage roll: the humble breakfast sausage. The dough was a bit more difficult; they didn't taste at all correct in store-bought crescent roll tubes, which were far too sweet for such a savory pastry. Then I discovered puff pastry.
The first time I made these beauties they turned out pitifully because, still new to baking, I decided to cook the sausages first, which burnt them severely once placed within the pastry and baked. That said, the puff pastry was just the right consistency and taste!
The next few times they were just, well, okay. However, the sausages were bland compared with those I remembered fondly from my time living in the UK, so my next experiment was all about spices. This coincided with my husband's vegetarian phase, wherein I discovered that using a whole lot of dried sage resulted in making basically anything taste like a sausage. (You're welcome, vegetarian sausage roll lovers.)
The result is this recipe, my riff on the grocery store variety of sausage rolls found in the refrigerated section of places like Sainsbury's. Not only are they the easiest little bits of joy to make, I think they're better than the store-bought kind and probably cheaper too. I hope you enjoy these little national treasures as much as I do!
This is a three-part series. If you'd like to see the other parts, click here for Part 3: Truly Homemade Sausage Rolls (e.g. the fancier, more accurate version) and Part 2: Veggie Sausage Rolls. If you're interested in my puff pastry recipe, be sure to check out this post.
Easiest Sausage Rolls
Yield: approx. 24 mini sausage rolls
Time: 30 minutes
2 sheets of puff pastry
1 package of American breakfast sausage links
1 tsp ground sage
flour for dusting
silicone baking mat or parchment paper
Allow puff pastry to thaw for 20 minutes until cold but workable.
Preheat your oven to 350°F or 200°C.
Crack the egg into the bowl, add the sage, and use the fork to whisk the egg until it becomes liquid in texture.
Dust your surface and lay out the first sheet of puff pastry. Roll out until it measures approximately 1/8" or 2mm thick.
using your knife, cut the pastry into 12 rectangles of similar size.
Open up the thawed sausage links package and, using your knife, cut each sausage link in half.
Take a rectangular piece of puff pastry and, after dipping your pastry brush in the egg wash, brush three of the four sides of the rectangle. This will serve as the sausage roll's seal.
Place a sausage link on the unwashed side of the pastry and roll the pastry over the sausage link so that the unwashed seam ends up on the bottom of the roll.
Pinch the sides together with your thumbs or the fork. Score the top of the sausage roll with you knife. Place the sausage roll on the cookie sheet.
Repeat steps 6-8 until you have enough sausage rolls to fill your cookie sheet. Be sure that each roll has at least an inch or or 4 mm of space on each side. These babies will expand in the oven!
Using the egg wash, gently brush each sausage roll on the top and sides.
Bake the sausage rolls for 12-15 minutes or until a puffy golden brown.
Repeat steps 3-5 for the second sheet of puff pastry.
Then repeat steps 6-11 for each sausage roll and bake the rest of them.
If you have leftover pastry, it can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for another 24 hours and put to good use as leftover pastry tarts.
As I hinted at before, the secret to the success of these delicious finger foods is the inclusion of sage in the egg wash, which gives the true taste of authenticity to these little treats. I sincerely hope you enjoy my take on the quintessentially British sausage roll, and be sure to check out the other recipes in this series. Do you have a favorite go-to recipe for something you can't buy near where you live? If so, please share it below!