During my first trip to Australia in 2002, I visited a great bakery café in Melbourne called Babka. When my friend Maureen McKeon and I had lunch there, I just had to taste the sausage rolls. They were light and delicate and surrounded by a buttery puff pastry, and they were truly excellent. There are many recipes for rather drab sausage rolls around; some even suggest using packaged breakfast sausage patties as the filling. These are a re-creation of the ones from Babka, and they start out with fresh ground pork, with seasonings added—the right way to make them. If you like, you may substitute ground beef for the pork, but the flavor will not be the same.
Makes twelve 4-inch sausage rolls
1 batch Quickest Puff Pastry (see below)
8 ounces white bread, crusts removed, diced, about 3 cups
2/3 cup milk, scalded
12 ounces ground pork
12 ounces ground veal
2 cups (about 10 ounces) white onions, minced
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
1 egg well beaten with a pinch of salt
One jelly-roll pan lined with parchment or foil
- Place the dough on a floured surface and lightly flour it. Roll the dough to an 18-inch square. Trim the edges even if necessary. Slide the dough onto a cookie sheet or the back of a jelly-roll pan, cover it with plastic wrap, and chill it while preparing the sausage mixture.
- For the sausage mixture, soak the bread in the milk until it is completely absorbed, then gently squeeze out the excess milk. Combine the remaining sausage ingredients in a large bowl and stir to mix well. Stir in the soaked bread and season with salt and pepper.
- To taste the mixture for seasoning, make a small, thin patty and cook it quickly on both sides in very little oil in a small sauté pan. Cool slightly and taste. Add more seasoning to the raw mixture if necessary.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and slide it onto a lightly floured work surface. Use a pizza wheel to cut the dough into 3 strips, each 6 x 18 inches. Paint the right side of the 18-inch side of each strip of the dough with a 1/2-inch wide strip of egg wash. Put the sausage filling into a pastry bag with no tube and a 1-inch opening at the end and pipe the sausage filling in a straight 1-inch diameter cylinder the length of the strip of dough opposite the egg wash. Repeat with the remaining strips of dough and remaining filling.
- Roll the strips of dough up like a jelly roll, but not too tightly, from the sausage sides, to make 3 cylinders, each 18 inches long. Roll the filled pieces of dough onto a cookie sheet, seam side down, and cover them with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to several hours. You may keep the uncut rolls in the refrigerator for most of the day, but they should be baked on the day you make the filling and form them.
- When you are ready to bake the sausage rolls, set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.
- Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and cut each into three 6-inch lengths. Arrange the pieces, seam sides down, on the prepared pan and paint the outside of each with the egg wash. With the point of a paring knife, cut three 1/2-inch diagonal slashes in the top of each sausage roll.
- Bake the sausage rolls until the dough is a very dark golden color, about 30 minutes.
Serving: Serve the sausage rolls immediately with a tossed salad or a hot green vegetable.
Storage: Wrap and refrigerate leftovers. Reheat in a 375-degree oven or in the toaster oven before serving again.
Quickest Puff Pastry
3/4 cup cold water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- Combine the water and salt in a measuring cup or small bowl and stir well to dissolve the salt completely. Set aside.
- Place the flour in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add a fourth of the butter and pulse repeatedly to mix in finely. Add the remaining butter and pulse just until it is distributed in the flour mixture, 2 to 3 times.
- Add the salted water and pulse 2 to 3 times again. The dough will not form a ball.
- Invert the dough to a floured work surface and carefully remove the blade. Lightly flour the dough and form it into a rough rectangle.
- Gently roll the dough, making sure there is always enough flour between the work surface and the dough to prevent it from sticking, until it is a rectangle about 15 x 24 inches.
- Fold the top long edge over the middle section, and then fold the bottom edge over that to make three equal layers, as in the illustration. Roll the dough up like a jelly roll from one of the short edges. Use the palm of your hand to flatten the rolled dough into a rectangular shape, about 6 x 10 inches, and about 1 inch thick.
- Refrigerate the dough in plastic wrap until it is firm, at least 2 hours.
Storage: You may keep the dough in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before using it. If you are preparing the dough longer in advance, double-wrap and freeze it. Defrost the dough in the refrigerator overnight before using.