RECIPES: The Julia Child recipe was great, with lots of detailed instructions. The Bourke Street Bakery recipe was also easy to follow, but it was a bit hard to judge how much puff pastry I needed because I hadn’t used their base recipe. Neither recipe provided guidance on how thick to roll the pastry. I didn’t alter either recipe. I doubled the quantity of puff pastry as I wanted to use it for more than one recipe.
COMPONENTS: I only recently tried making croissant dough, and this is my first attempt at puff pastry dough. The lamination method was pretty much the same, but the ingredients are very different, with croissants containing yeast and milk and strong (bread) flour. The initial mix of ingredients is simple, after which you begin the chilling and lamination process. I achieved good results from Julia’s method. It was a warmish day (28 degrees celcius), so the dough was still not sufficiently chilled after resting in the fridge for the advised hour. I tended to leave it longer, and then instead of the final two-hour chill, left the dough in the fridge for a day, until I made the sausage rolls the next evening. This didn’t seem to affect the dough. The impact of a warmer day is that the butter softens quickly and small amounts can escape through the pastry. My method was to dust these areas with flour so they didn’t spread further, and this seemed to work without affecting the dough. I prepared the vegetable and spice part of the filling for the sausage rolls the same evening as the dough, and left it in the fridge overnight as well (it needs to cool anyway). The following evening I pressed the mix through the sausage mince.
ASSEMBLY: Rolling out the puff pastry went okay, but it was hard to judge how much to use. I laid out the sausage mince in two long cylinders about 60cm long, as I had rolled the pastry to about 30cm wide and 60cm long and then cut it in half. I found a tip that said to drag the knife when cutting rather than pressing down, so the lamination of the edges isn’t affected. You need firm dough to do this because otherwise the pastry drags with the knife! What I should have done when folding the pastry over the sausage mix was to cut off excess, but instead I rolled it over. This meant I had a thick pastry edge that had no filling and didn’t cook all the way through (the absolute centre of the pastry edge was a little undercooked). While this provided the opportunity to taste the pastry without filling, it’s not ideal. Ideally I should have also rolled the pastry and then chilled it again because it did shrink back and increase the thickness of the pastry (but was still okay). Neither recipe provided guidance on the thickness the pastry should be rolled to, so I based it on commercially available pastry.
IMPRESSION: All I can say is yum. I would definitely make these again. Both recipes worked well and the flavour of the sausage rolls was lovely, with just the right amount of fennel flavour coming through.
Puff Pastry recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol 1 by Julia Child
Sausage roll recipe from Bourke Street Bakery by Paul Allum