I’m not really sure what to call these. Whichever way you look at them though, they’re tasty.
You can make them as fancy as you like and add whatever you have. They are great layered up with mushroom, meat and caramelised red onion chutney or even with a layer of stilton or goats cheese crumbled in between the sausage and flaky pastry. You can add different flavours such as bacon, chestnuts, garlic, apples or cranberries too. They are just a really lovely warming and comforting snack that is great to have on hand at this time of year to use up your leftovers and add major kudos to the buffet table.
I have made my own rough puff pastry here as I love getting hands on in the kitchen and making everything from scratch but if you really don’t have time, ready-made puff pastry is absolutely fine. I won’t tell anyone. Either way, you’ll have something that is way better than anything you can buy.
For the shortcut puff pastry:
- 600g/1lb 5oz plain flour
- Pinch of salt
- 300g/10½oz butter, 100g/3½oz chilled and cut into cubes, 200g/7oz frozen
For the filling:
- 300g/10½oz chestnut mushrooms
- 2 tbsp thyme leaves
- 300g/10½oz good-qualitysausage meat
- ½ bunch parsley, finely chopped
- ½ red onion, finely chopped
- ¼ nutmeg, finely grated
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 1 egg, beaten, to glaze
- For the shortcut puff pastry, mix the flour and salt together in a bowl. Rub in the chilled butter using your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Gradually add enough water to form a dough (about 4-6 tablespoons of water).
- Roll the dough out into a rectangle on a lightly floured work surface.
- Coarsely grate the frozen butter over the bottom two-thirds of the dough. Fold down the top third and fold up the bottom third as if folding a letter.
- Turn the folded dough 90 degrees on the work surface and roll out into a rectangle again.
- Fold again in thirds, wrap the dough in cling film and set aside to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. Repeat the rolling, folding and turning process a further two times, chilling in between each turn. In total you will have done four turns. Rest the pastry in the fridge while you make the filling.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
- For the filling, put the mushrooms in a food processor and season with salt and pepper. Pulse until the mushrooms are broken down to a rough paste. Add the thyme and give the mix a final pulse.
- Put the mushroom mixture into a dry frying pan set over a medium-high heat and cook, stirring often, until all the moisture has evaporated from the mushrooms. Remove from the pan and leave to cool.
- To assemble, roll out the pastry into a 60x45cm/24x18in rectangle, and cut into 12 squares.
- Divide the mushroom mixture into 12 portions and spread a portion down the centre of each square of pastry, leaving a 2cm/1in gap at the top and bottom.
- In a bowl, mix the sausage meat with the onion, parsley, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Mould into 12 sausage shapes. Place on top of the mushroom paste.
- Make two small diagonal cuts from each corner of the pastry, to remove a small triangle. Then fold the top and bottom ‘wings’ over the ends of the sausage meat. Cut a 1cm/½in fringe all the way down the pastry on each side of the filling. Bring one strip over the filling from one side, then one from the other and so on, crossing the strips over to form a plaited effect. Tuck the ends of the pastry under the plait, trimming off any excess if necessary.
- Repeat with the remaining squares of pastry until you have 12 mini sausage plaits. Place the plaits on a baking tray, brush with beaten egg.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the pastry is golden-brown. Leave to cool on a wire rack then serve hot or cold.