Pop Culture

How to Make Sausage Rolls Like You’re on ‘The Great British Bake Off’

This week’s technical challenge had an added twist: they had to be vegan.

November 12, 2021
Photo by Julia Gartland

This week’s episode of The Great British Bake Off wasn’t entirely sweet. In fact, it was a little savory too. During the technical challenge, the five remaining contestants were tasked with making eight vegan sausage rolls as part of the episode's “free from” theme, which included dairy-free ice cream sandwiches and two-tier gluten-free cakes. “Flavor always matters, but in this recipe it’s absolutely key,” said co-judge Prue Leith, who introduced the challenge. Contestants were expected to make a crisp golden vegan rough puff pastry surrounding a mushroom and walnut filling, and accompanied by a sticky caramelized red onion chutney. But how do you make sausage rolls, anyway, vegan or otherwise?

How to Make Sausage Rolls

Food52’s recipe for traditional sausage rolls are made by spreading Dijon mustard over puff pastry and topping it with pork sausage meat, a drizzle of Worcestershire sauce, and a sprinkle of fresh thyme leaves. “To form the sausage rolls, fold the top half of the pastry over the sausage and press the edges together with a fork. Trim the edge to get a neat line then gently slice the pastry log into inch wide segments but do not fully separate. Lightly slash the top of each segment with a sharp knife and glaze with an egg wash,” writes recipe developer Lily Hughes. From here, bake the sausage rolls in a 400℉ oven for 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and the sausage is fully cooked. This recipe called for store-bought pork sausage and frozen and thawed puff pastry. But what kind of GBBO challenge would it be if both of the key ingredients weren’t made from scratch?

In this week’s episode, contestants started by making rough puff pastry from scratch. It’s made in a food processor with just flour, vegan butter, water, and salt. “It’s laminated so once you roll it out, it creates layers and in the oven, the butter melts, which creates steam,” explained Lizzie, one of the remaining contestants. As they made the mushroom and walnut filling, the contestants placed the puff pastry in the refrigerator to chill in order to keep the butter cold and prevent it from oozing out once rolled out.

Vegan Sausage Filling

There are plenty of plant-based sausages that are vegan, but the bakers needed to make their own vegetable filling that had the flavor of real sausage. The recipe for vegan sausage rolls on The Great British Bake Off called for caramelized onions, mushrooms, walnuts, lentils, miso, lemon juice, parsley, thyme, and sage for an earthy, aromatic filling that had all the meat and might of real sausage. The filling was sautéed until practically all the moisture had evaporated and the vegetables had thoroughly cooked down.

What Did the Contestants Think?

Upon tasting the contestants’ vegan sausage rolls, Chigs received praise from Prue for creating a sausage-like filling that was soft and crumbly; he was later awarded first place for his “moist and lovely” sausage rolls. Crystelle’s chutney was packed with hot chile, which caused her to come in last place (and caused co-judge Paul Hollywood to cry out for a glass of oat milk to offset the spiciness). Lizzie’s rolls were criticized for being over-baked but the judges noted that the pastry was well laminated and flaky.

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Former Food52 Staff Editor