Sausage Wreath

Sausage Wreath

Wotchers!

Week Two on the Festive Food, and it was inspired one of my followers on Twitter (@BakesALotSue). In response to my call for Festive Food requests, she asked for something for a Boxing Day buffet that could be made ahead and then baked on the day.

So here we have my Sausage Wreath – with the bonus that if it all goes pear-shaped, you can nail it to the front door as a symbol of your seasonal Joyful Mood. H0. H0. H0.

Its basically a riff on sausage rolls, which always seem festive to me, especially when they are in one-or-two-bite sizes. A central sausage pie ‘dome’ is surrounded by a ring of help-yourself, tear-off-and-scoff mini sausage rolls. If you are Cunning, then you can mix and match fillings so that the dome has a separate filling, possibly even vegetarian, which would make this a great two-for-one special. It tastes great hot or cold, so it can stay on the table or sideboard for the rest of the day, for nibbling on. Not directly, of course – get a plate. We’re not animals here!

I’ve made mine circular, but you could make it any shape you like – a square or rectangle would probably be the most space-efficient. Your only limit is the size of the baking sheet your oven can cope with (and also freezer, if you intend to make ahead).

A word of caution: if you make the dome pure sausage-meat, it will take quite a bit longer than the rolls round the edges to bake. This means that, once cooked, the edges will need to be covered with foil to prevent them burning, until the central dome is cooked through, which you can check by using a digital thermometer. An alternative would be to make the middle filling something less dense, such as a mixture of (for example) salmon/cooked rice/spinach/hard-boiled eggs, similar to the Russian Coulibiac. Alternatively, you could use something along the lines of the Picnic Pie filling. Be creative. Go wild!

 Sausage Wreath

The additional flavourings are purely optional, but have the added benefit of making the filling much more interesting and allowing the ingredients to stretch even further. These instructions will cover the use of sausage-meat for the whole pie since, as already mentioned, it requires a little extra care in the baking.

800g good quality sausages
2 sharp apples – Braeburn, Jazz or Granny Smith
Onion to taste[1]
Chopped fresh sage and parsley to taste[2]
Salt and pepper
2 x 500g blocks of puff pastry [3]

1 large egg for glazing

  •  Remove the skins from the sausages and put the meat into a bowl.
  • Peel, core and chop/grate the apple and add to the sausage meat.
  • Chop the onions finely and add to the bowl with the herbs.
  • Season well.
  • Mix all together.
  • Check seasoning/flavourings by cooking a little of the mixture in a pan and tasting. Adjust accordingly.
  • To assemble the pie:
    • Diagram of pastry lining a dish

      Roll out one of the blocks of pastry and use it to line the bowl that will shape your central dome.
      Make sure it overlaps the edges by at least 15cm all round.

    • Diagram showing filling added to pastry lining.

      Add your filling and press down firmly, so that it will hold it’s shape when the bowl is removed.

    • Pastry covering the filling

      Roll out the second piece of pastry and use it to cover the filling in the bowl.
      Moisten the pastry on the rim of the bowl, to form a seal with the second piece of pastry.

    • Lay a chopping board, or similar, over the pastry and carefully turn the whole pie over,
      so that the bowl is now upside down & the pastry lying flat.

    • Overview of pastry will two fillings

      Fold the now top layer of pastry towards the bowl and lay a ring of the remaining filling.
      Leave a gap of about 5cm between the bowl and the outer ring of sausage-meat

    • Cross-section of pie filling and surrounding ring of sausage-meat.

      Brush the pastry either side of the sausage-meat with water.
      Smooth the pastry over the top of the sausage-meat and press down either side.
      Trim any excess pastry from the outside edge.

    • Crimp the edges of the pastry, then divinde the rim into snack-sized sausage rolls using the cuts as shown.

      Crimp the edge of the pastry, then divide the rim into snack-sized sausage rolls using the cuts as shown.
      Twist each roll about 45 degrees to the left, to form the crown brim.

    • Remove the bowl and cut slits in the sides of the dome to let out the steam.
    • Decorate with any leftover pastry.
  • If you’re making this ahead of time, stop now. Freeze on a baking sheet, and when frozen, wrap in foil and plastic to prevent freezer-burn. Thaw thoroughly.[4]
  • To cook:
    • Preheat the oven to 200°C, 180°C Fan.
    • Whisk the egg with a little water and brush over the pastry to glaze.
    • Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the rolls on the rim are cooked through and the pastry golden. NB The filling and the pastry are both rich with butter/fat,so you might want to bake this on a wire rack to let the excess drain off.
    • Remove from the oven and wrap the edge in foil to prevent the pastry from burning. Return to the oven until the dome is cooked. The internal temperature should be at least 71°C when measured by a Thermapen or equivalent. Depending on how firmly you packed the filling, this could be an additional 20-30 minutes or even longer.
  • To serve:
    • Run a knife around the edge of the dome, cutting a circle in the pastry, allowing  both the rolls to be pulled away easily and slices of the pie dome to be cut neatly.
    • Garnish with some sprigs of curly parsley.
    • Step back briskly two paces as the stampede begins. 😀

 

[1] Depending on how onion-y you like things, you could use chives, spring onions, shallots, brown onions, white onions or Spanish onions.

[2] 2-3tbs each of fresh, chopped – or half this quantity if using dried.

[3] Or you can make 2 batches of the quick puff pastry recipe method here. Replace the cocoa with plain flour obvs. and use 250g butter for each batch.

[4] It is possible to cook from frozen, but I haven’t, and considering the trickiness of getting this evenly baked, with the different cooking required of pie and rim, I think it might be unnecessary hassle – NOT required at this time of the year. If you feel confident, though, go for it.



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