Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Sausage Plait



It's that time of year when I live in hope of a spell of fine weather (just a spell would do at this stage!) and dare I say it picnics....finding just he right spot at the local park to throw down the blanket and relax in the sun....bliss. The idea of absorbing Vitamin D naturally without the aid of handfuls of vitamin pills is somewhat unbelievable, we have had truly awful summers these past few years, so my advice for what it is worth is, if the day presents itself, grab the chance and go have that picnic!
This is a very handy recipe for just such an occasion, it is very tasty and can be served cold, I can also recommend the quiche or if is a little chilly, some  pea soup in a flask. I hope against hope that we will have a dry summer, especially after such a long cold winter. I trust I haven't jinxed the whole thing now by saying it out loud!?!

Recipe adapted from BBC Twos'  The Hairy Bikers Mum's Knows Best Season One 

Serves 6-8

Ingredients
For the Pastry:
500g Shop bought puff pastry
or
454g Plain Flour
142g Lard
142g Margarine
2 Pinches salt
As Required cold water

For Sausage Mix:
454g Sausage meat or sausages with the casings removed
100g Fresh breadcrumbs
2 Medium onions
Seasoning to taste
2 tbsp Mixed herbs

Glaze:
1 Egg, beaten
1 tbsp Milk

Note on the recipe:
I have made this pastry a few times and it is truly scrumptious, however I didn't have the blogger bug then so I have no photographic evidence of my efforts, suffice it to say that it takes a bit longer to make than shortcrust but well worth the effort, however if you are in a hurry and watching the dark clouds to roll in, go for shop bought!!

Method
Make the pastry as follows:
Mix flour and salt and add lard and margarine, cut into small pieces. Stir in with a knife (do not rub in) and mix to a stiff dough with water. Roll out on a floured surface to a narrow strip. Fold into three, and give a quarter turn so that one of the open ends is towards you. Roll out again. Do this three times in all. Cover pastry and leave to rest (15 minutes approx). Roll into rectangular shape ready for sausage mix filling. In hot weather allow pastry to rest for 20 – 30 minutes in a refrigerator or a cool place before use. Preheat the oven to 230ºC/450ºF/Gas Mark 8, line a large baking tray with baking paper.



If you are unable to get sausage meat then remove the casing (skin) from sausages as follows, score the sausages with a sharp knife, gently remove the casing and discard.


Grate or finely chop the onions, mix everything together in a medium sized bowl. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle roughly 35cm x 25cm.  


Lay the pastry onto the prepared baking tray. Place the sausage filling into the centre of the pastry, leave a 5cm border all the way round.


Down each side of the boarder, cut strips every 2½ cms from the filling to the edge at 45º angle. I like to flour the knife first to prevent it from sticking to the pastry. Start with folding the very top of the pastry towards yourself onto the sausage filling, then plait the pastry strips alternately left to right, left to right, across the sausage mixture.


Continue the whole way down the length of the filling.


Tuck the bottom of the pastry up over the filling before finishing the plait.


Mix the glaze together, brush the whole plait with the egg wash.


Place in centre of the pre-heated oven, cook for 20 minutes approx or until golden brown.


Serve straight from the oven in slices or allow to cool room temperature then serve. If you are feeling inspired here are a few more of my picnic recipes...Enjoy!

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