Monday 8 February 2016

Sausage Plait

I had meant to do this during the week, but had failed to read the recipes of the steps was "rest for at least 7 hours in the fridge" instead I did it Friday evening and Saturday. I was supposed to be racing, however the weather looked dire, and it's so early in the race schedule that I don't feel the need to risk my neck in gale-force winds.

I haven't done puff pastry for ages, so I spent a bit of time reading through the technique in Paul Hollywoods Pies and Puds book. I'm not entirely sure that the 7 hour rest is needed, and I might try and speed the recipe up next time. Other than that it was very instructive, and covered a couple of things I'd missed before (pinching the sides to seal the butter in). I did find the final pastry quite...chewy, though this might have been the edges, where I possibly left too much space after the butter...alternately, the core dough has no butter, so could be quite chewy for that reason. I'd strongly recommend the book, as it does a good step-by-step of how to do puff pastry, along with photos, and you get a good number of laminations off 3 fold and chill cycles.

The filling was fairly simple, apart from having to finely chop a punnet of mushrooms by hand (recipe assumed a food processor). Caramelised onions are possibly my new favourite ingredient, and I'm also a big fan of black pudding. I really liked the look of the plait, and it's quite simple to achieve as well. The final bake was lovely...lots of flavour. This recipe is also from the "Pies and Puds" book, and has an excellent photo-guide to walk you through the construction.

Sausage Plait Recipe

Puff Pastry Ingredients

  • 100g plain flour
  • 100g strong white flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 165g unsalted butter
  • Iced water (about 75ml)

 1) Mix the flours and salt in a bowl, and work in the water to form a kneadable dough

2) Knead the dough for 7-8 minutes, until smooth

3) Form into a rectangle, wrap in clingfilm, and place in the fridge overnight (I'm not entiurely sure this length of time is needed...I'll try with a more typical "30 minute" rest next time, and see what difference that makes)

4) Take the chilled butter, and beat into a rectangle ~20cm x ~12cm, then also wrap in clingfilm and chill.

5) Next day, roll the dough to a rectangle 12cm x 30cm

6) Place the butter on the dough so that it covers 2/3rds of the dough (with a slight gap at the edges)

7) Fold the un-covered dough up to cover half the butter

8) Fold the uncovered butter, and the dough underneath it, to go over this fold

9) Pinch the edges closed to seal the butter in

10) Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes in the fridge.

11) After chilling, roll the dough into a long rectangle, then perform a "book fold" (both short edges to the middle, and then fold in half, to get 4 layers).

12) Wrap in clingfilm, and chill for 30 minutes in the frige

13) Repeat (11) and (12) 2 more times

Filling Ingredients

  • 300g Chestnut mushrooms
  • 2tsp chopped thyme leaves
  • 2 large red onions
  • 1½tsp soft brown sugar
  • 1tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 300g sausagemeat
  • 100g black pudding
  • Beaten egg, to glaze
  • Sesame seeds, to decorate 

1) For the mushrooms, chop finely (or food processor), and mix in the thyme leaves

2) Cook in a dry saucepan on a medium/low heat, stirring occasionally, until the water has left the mushrooms.

3) Put aside to cool

4) For the onions, slice finely

5) Put the oil and butter in a pan on a medium/low heat, add the onions and sugar, and cook for 20 minutes, until the onions start to go golden

6) Stir in the sherry vinegar, and put to one side to cool

7) For the sausagemeat, form into a long tube about 20cm long.

8) Chop the black pudding up into ~1cm cubes, and push into the sausagemeat (I did it down the middle, sealing the sausagemeat over the top).

Assembling the Plait

  • Preheat the oven to 200'C

1) Roll the pastry out 25cm x 30cm

2) Put the mushroom paste down the middle third of the pastry, leaving about 3cm at each end

3) Place the sausagemeat on top of the mushrooms

4) Spread the onions out on top of the sausagemeat

5) Do diagonal cuts down either side of the pastry, about 2cm apart

6) Lightly glaze the pastry with beaten egg

7) Alternately fold the pastry lengths over the sausagemeat, forming a plait effect. Tuck the ends under the plait

8) Glaze with beaten egg, and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top

9) Place on a baking tray, and put in the oven for 30 minutes

10) Cool on a wire rack, then eat (it's lovely hot or cold!)