Autumn Sausage and Apple Plait, aka hot sausage in crust
“In the restaurant on the Rue Saint-Augustin, M. Mirande would dazzle his juniors, French and American, by dispatching a lunch of raw Bayonne ham and fresh figs, a hot sausage in crust, spindles of filleted pike in a rich rose sauce Nantua ….., a young wild boar, that the lover of the leading lady in his current production had sent up from his estate in the Sologne. “And while I think of it,” I once heard him say, “we haven’t had any … truffles baked in the ashes, and the cellar is becoming a disgrace—no more ’34s and hardly any ’37s. Last week, I had to offer my publisher a bottle that was far too good for him, simply because there was nothing between the insulting and the superlative.”A. J. Liebling, A Good Appetite, Memoirs of a feeder in France.
From the quote above you can see that ‘hot sausage in crust’ is included in a list of very superior comestibles indeed. Nevertheless, it’s both a simple and an economic dish.
I know this sausage and apple plait looks like a lot of ingredients, but honestly, they are mostly ones which you use all the time – you won’t be spending hours digging out something obscure.
And it’s simple too – you just stir together the plait stuffing and then wrap up in pastry.
The only fiddly aspect to this recipe in fact is a completely optional one – painting a few of the leaves with red food colouring. A pretty naff sort of thing to do, but nevertheless rather fun!
Then serve it with a tomato, spring onion, parsley and yoghurt sauce. And a green salad with lots of dressing.
Recipe for Autumn Sausage and Apple Plait
• 1 onion
• Olive oil for frying
• 1 cooking apple
• 2 cloves of garlic crushed with 1 tsp smoked salt
• 3 or 4 leaves of sage
• 1 egg
• 400g/14 oz/6 pork sausages
• 2 tbsp tomato purée
• 2 tbsp grainy mustard
• 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
• 500g/1 lb puff pastry – good quality, made with butter
• 2 tbsp red vermouth, or marsala
• 240ml/1 cup rich but runny yoghurt – I like The Collective
• 2 medium tomatoes (approx. 240g/8oz)
• 8 spring onions
• ½ tsp sugar
• ½ tsp salt
• freshly ground black pepper
• 25g/0.5 oz flat leaved parsley
• 2 tbsps of peppery finishing olive oil
• red food colouring (optional)
1. If your pastry is in the freezer – take it out and thaw it.
2. Preheat the oven to 210ºC.
3. Peel, chop and gently fry the onion.
4. Take the sausage meat out of the casing, and add to the onion.
5. Meanwhile, begin to make the sauce. Chop the tomato up quite small in a medium bowl. Add the salt, pepper, the sugar and the olive oil. Snip in the spring onions (the white bit obviously, and a couple of cms/½” of the green). Chop the parsley (or just snip it in) and add. Stir well and leave.
6. Core and slice the apple, add to the onion (don’t bother to peel) when the onion is starting to turn transparent and the sausage meat is cooked through.
7. Peel and crush with garlic with the salt and add to the sausage-onion mix in the frying pan.
8. Snip in the sage.
9. Add the tomato purée, the vermouth, the Worcestershire sauce, and the mustard. Stir.
10. On a floured board, roll out the pastry, quite thin, into a long rectangle. Move it onto a silicon baking tray (or an ordinary greased one).
11. Lay the sausage filling down the middle and draw the pastry up on either side, press to join into a seam down the middle. (Alright – if you’re a purist you can try to plait the seam together). You should have quite a bit of pastry at either end – cut this off, leaving just enough to press together and seal.
12. Beat the egg and brush about half of it over the pastry. Cut four or five slashes about 1”/5 cm to allow the steam to escape. Put into the oven for 5 minutes.
13. Meanwhile take the remaining pastry and cut into leaves – different sizes and shapes.
14. Take the plait out. Paint over a bit more beaten egg, and stick the leaves on artistically. Paint some of them with a little red food colouring if you have that to hand. Paint over the leaves with the remaining beaten egg.
15. Return to the oven for another fifteen minutes or so – until the pastry looks golden.
16. Add the yoghurt to the prepared sauce, and serve with the autumn sausage and apple plait.