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Sausage Rolls // 1930s

Sausage rolls need no introduction. They're the perfect snack for almost any occasion. Birthday party? Make a platter of mini sausage rolls. Hungry on the move? Grab a hot sausage roll to keep you going. They're portable, can be enjoyed hot or cold, you can use whatever filling you prefer... what's not to like?
This 1936 recipe for sausage rolls (and the puff pastry to wrap them with) ticked all of our boxes. The homemade puff pastry was gloriously buttery, the sausages were perfectly plump and not too fatty thanks to the tip given in the recipe to boil them first. We made two batches, the first using Cumberland Pork Sausages and the second using Beef & Pepper sausages from our butcher. Both turned out gorgeously!
Although we recommend making the puff pastry according to these instructions just for an extra taste of the decade and because it turned out so ruddy delicious, don't feel guilty if you choose to use ready-made / ready-rolled puff pastry instead. After all, if it was available in the '30s for a decent price you can bet your bottom dollar that the time-pressed housewives, cooks and chefs of the decade would've set their flour and butter to one side and used it themselves.
Original Recipe: 'Sausage Rolls' and 'Puff Paste (1)' (Book 5, 1936)
Makes: About 8


  • ½ lb (227g) plain flour *

  • ½ lb (227g) butter (cold, in a block) *

  • About half a lemon *

  • ½ tsp. salt *

  • 1 teacupful of water *

  • ½ lb (227g) sausages

  • 1 egg

  • Fresh parsley

* If you feel more like using ready made pastry, you won't need these ingredients.



Preparing your sausages

1. Boil the sausages for about 5 minutes. 'It is best to boil the sausages before making them into rolls, in order to extract some of the fat. If this is not done, the puff paste is apt to be sodden'. Leave them to cool, then peel the skins off and slice them in half, length-ways (↔). Set these aside while you make your puff pastry.

Onto the puff pastry

2. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Juice about half a lemon and strain this to remove the bits. Mix with a little of your water. Make a well in your flour and then pour the lemon juice in, stirring lightly. Mix with sufficient cold water to make this into a dough that is 'as near the consistency of butter as possible.' Turn this out onto a floured surface (a pastry board or marble slab, if you have one) and knead until this puffs up a little and air bubbles can be seen, then it roll out lightly.

3. Roll the butter out to about half the size of our dough. We rolled ours out between two sheets of baking paper to make this a little easier. Then, put it in the centre of your dough, dust it lightly with flour and fold over the edges so that your butter is well wrapped in the pastry. Let this rest in the fridge for about an hour.

4. When your pastry has stood for long enough, roll it out straight and evenly length-ways (↔) - not cross-ways (↕). Flip it over, and roll the same way on the other side, keeping it even. Then fold into three and turn it half around (at a 90 degree angle) so that the raw edges face you and you can see some of the unwrapped butter. Roll it out again straight and evenly length-ways again (↔). Fold once more into three and leave to rest in the fridge, this time for half an hour.

5. Then, roll it out and fold in exactly the same manner as before, putting it back in the fridge for a final half an hour before bringing it out again. Now we're going to use it (finally). So, roll out your pastry to about inch in thickness and cut this into squares (or rectangles in our case!) so that they are at least an inch longer than your sausages are.

Forming your sausage rolls

6. Brush along the two sides with cold water. Lay a sausage half on the side nearest to you, making sure that you have at least half an inch of pastry beyond each end of the sausage. Now roll it over until the far end of the pastry is reached. Brush this edge over with cold water to make it stick, and brush over the top of this again. Then, press the ends of the pastry together. You can trim these edges if you wish, and clamp them down with a fork to really secure them.

7. Beat up your egg and brush the tops of your sausage rolls with this. Then, lay them in a tin on top of dampened baking paper and bake in an oven set to 180 / / for 20 to 30 minutes. Ours took the whole 30 minutes.

Note: If you don't dampen the baking paper, the pastry will stick and they'll be hard to remove.

8. Even if you make your pastry perfectly, some of the butter will seep out of it as it bakes. As soon as they're out of the oven, stand or lay the rolls on some paper kitchen towels so that these can absorb some of this excess grease.

9. Finally, arrange on a plate lined with 'fancy dish-paper' (a doily) and garnish with fresh parsley.

'serve them, either hot or cold'

'NOTE. - Home-made forcemeats can be used instead of sausage meat, if liked; either raw or cooked meat, moistened with a little sauce, and seasoned'.


Original Recipes for 'Sausage Rolls' and 'Puff Paste (1)

'BOOK 5': Cookery Illustrated and Household Management (1936)

By: Elizabeth Craig

Publisher: Odhams Press Limited (Long Acre, London, W.C.2, England, U.K.)

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