Page 505 of Dan Lepard’s “Short and Sweet” cookery book was a revelation to me. I discovered that I needn’t fear pastry, and I’ll never need to avoid recipes that require handmade shortcrust again. No more panicking and dashing off to the supermarket to buy a rectangular lump of packaged pastry that requires rolling out before use. Page 505 taught me that any old chestnut holding a rolling pin can make beautifully flaky pastry. It’s all in the recipe, you see, and in the recipe writer’s ability to dumb-down instructions to my level without being condescending to more skilled, experienced bakers. This recipe gets a huge thumbs-up from me.
I didn’t fiddle about with Dan’s ingredients or method for the pastry. I followed it word-for-word. Oh. Well. Except for the paprika; the supermarket didn’t have sweet paprika, so I used the smoky version. That was actually quite nice, so thank you supermarket shelf stockist guys for failing to do your job.
I did fiddle with the sausage though. I like very spicy sausage, so in addition to the chopped onion, I added 1 teaspoon of finely chopped fresh chilli, 1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper, and a tablespoon each of fresh, chopped parsley and sage. I like sage in sausage. I also ‘scored’ the sausage meat with a knife, as this helps it hold its shape while cooking without it compressing. I learned this trick from my Danish mother-in-law.
I tried my new lame for slashing the pastry, but I couldn’t cut it deep enough so I used a paring knife. As the sausage rolls baked, I noticed that some of the slashes began to close up, so I’ll slash the pastry deeper next time, perhaps into the sausage meat.
Hubby liked these. His comment, “Damn these are good.”
When the man’s right, the man’s right.