Greggs has had to apologise for replacing Jesus in the manger for a sausage roll in the promo image for their new £24 advent calendar, that no, doesn’t actually contain sausage rolls (sadly). Instead it features vouchers to spend in-store at the bakery chain.
In a statement, Greggs said: “We’re really sorry to have caused any offence, this was never our intention.”
The thing is, a Greggs sausage roll is good, but nothing beats a homemade one that’s all flaky puff pastry and filled with perfectly seasoned pork.
And they’re easy to make: Roll a length of seasoned sausage meat inside a sheet of rolled out puff pastry; egg wash to seal and glaze; slice into sausage roll sized chunks; bake in a hot oven (200C) until golden (25-30 minutes). Eat.
But there’s an art to truly delicious sausage rolls. Here are some tips to remember:
1. Life is too short to make your own puff pastry. Concede defeat and just buy a readymade block from the supermarket – we won’t judge.
2. Keep a bowl of ice water ready, so you can plunge your hands in if they get too hot while working your pastry – you don’t want the butter and fat in it to start melting before hitting the oven.
3. When rolling out your pastry, you need to tread the line between thin, but not too thin – aim for 1/2cm thick. You also want it to puff up, but not too much. Bash it lightly with a rolling pin before baking to take out some of the puff.
4. Don’t just use any old sausage meat. Either visit your butcher and stock up on quality minced pork shoulder, or buy the best quality supermarket sausages you can find, with the highest actual meat content.
5. Plain pork sausage rolls are amazing, but ones loaded with sage and thyme, rosemary, chunks of apple, bacon, onion marmalade or black pudding, can be even better.
6. Season your meat. You need salt, you need pepper, you need lots of it.
7. Make your secret ingredient lemon zest – it’ll really lift the flavour of your sausage meat.
8. It’s better to overfill than underfill your sausage rolls. No one minds oozy, crispy bits falling out of the pastry casing, but they do mind pastry mainly filled with air.
9. Return your prepared sausage rolls to the fridge for 15 minutes to set before baking – it’ll keep their shape firm.
10. Don’t snub toppings – sprinkle with paprika for a bit of heat, while sesame, fennel or nigella seeds can add extra bite and flavour.