The history of the sausage roll can more or less be traced back to 18th Century Britain. The French may have invented the puffed or flaky pastry, but it was clearly the British who popularized the art of wrapping a sausage in the dough for maximum efficiency and ease of enjoyment. Industrial Revolution, here we come.
As Britain colonized much of the world, the love spread. The Australians have a particular strong sausage rolls and meat pie culture that continues to evolve. Seriously, there are some major fanatics out there. In Canada, it’s another story. While most Canadians will probably admit to eating them, overall, our sausage roll culture is weak.
What’s with this lack of passion? Tell me the last time you had a sausage roll and I can almost guarantee that you’re thinking of that less than appetizing half-frozen square of pale pastry with greyish filling that you politely scarfed down at some kid’s birthday party.
Seriously, sausage rolls don’t have to be so sad.
Inspired by all the beautiful apples I had picked from my trip to Durham Region, I created a sausage roll recipe featuring the flavours of apple, sage and onion—a winning Fall combination that is distinctly Canadian, and perfect for Thanksgiving too. I picked up my sausage meat from one of my local butchers, but you can easily de-case a good quality supermarket sausage for this recipe. Just make sure not to be too heavy-handed with the seasoning if you are using pre-seasoned sausage meat. The fresh sage is also a key component.
You could roll out the dough a little more and cut it into smaller pieces for afternoon snacks or entertaining. However, my ideal lunch would be enjoying these rolls at full size, hot out of the oven, and served with a warm butternut squash and sage soup and a side green salad.
It’s a great time to be a Canadian.
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 large Gala (or similar) apple
- 1 small white onion
- 1 handful of fresh sage leaves (about 20 leaves)
- 3 pork sausages or equivalent (mild Italian preferred, but honey garlic would also work well)
- 250 g ground pork
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp mustard (I prefer Dijon in this recipe)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 sheets of ready-made frozen puff pastry (250 g each)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC/425ºF. At the same time, remove the puff pastry from the freezer and defrost to room temperature.
- Dice the apple, onion and sage, and fry in a shallow pan with olive oil for about 5-10 minutes or until just combined, and the onion is slightly translucent.
- In a large bowl, combine the sausage (if cased, remove the meat from its casing), ground pork, honey, and mustard. Add the apple mixture to this bowl and mix well (preferably with your hands).
- Roll out the pastry just a tiny bit if necessary.
- Visualize three columns on your pastry and spoon the pork and apple mixture to fill the second column down the middle, all the way to the edges.
- Carefully fold up both of the sides of the puff pastry to cover the mixture, taking care not to pull too much on the delicate pastry.
- Cut the roll into three even pieces and score the tops (if desired).
- Brush the tops and sides of the pies with the beaten egg wash, then repeat with the second roll.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, or until the pies turn golden brown and the filling is cooked through.