The puff pastry saga, installment one

I’m always on the search for new baking techniques to master. One time it was madeleines, next it was macarons. I mastered Swiss buttercream after that. Now I’m on puff pastry, with the eventual goal of reliably and proficiently turning out homemade croissants.

I decided to ease myself into this, since while I was fairly sure I could manage it, pride goeth before a fall and the slow approach is usually the right one. The first step in this saga, then, was rough puff pastry. Specifically, sausage rolls.

Homemade sausage rolls

Homemade sausage rolls

For the Americans reading this, sausage rolls are a delicious hand-held snack/meal you can get in just about any bakery in England. When I lived in York during my year abroad in university, The Cornish Bakery (apologies for TripAdvisor link; I couldn’t find a website for that shop) was a favorite of mine. I’d drop by during one of my daily meanders around the city and pick up a sausage roll to satisfy midday hunger. Sausage rolls are a taste of the past for me – specifically of a year that was one of the happiest and most formative of my life.

Some time ago, I made my own sausage. I’ve done it a few times now; I generally use a Cumberland sausage recipe and make enough at a time for five or six family-sized meals, storing them in our deep freeze for future use. So I grabbed a packet of sausages out of the deep freezer, defrosted it, and started my rough puff pastry.

I used Paul Hollywood’s sausage roll recipe for the pastry and assembly of the sausage rolls, figuring I might as well go straight to the master for direction. The recipe was easy to follow and well written. I obviously changed a few things up; I was using formed sausage, not loose sausage meat, and I omitted the onion chutney because I didn’t really fancy it.

The end result was a delight! The pastry was puffy, flaky, and layered, and the sausage was perfect. It was a lot of effort for something I used to just pop in and pick up for 2 quid, but oh, so worth it.

Now, if only this horrid hot and humid weather would go away and give me autumn, so I can do more experimenting!