I should start with an apology; it has been almost two weeks since I last wrote a blog post. This is, in part, due to the mammoth post I wrote previously. It you missed it, it was my Confetti cake (which referenced the preceding post about perfect icing). I’ve also had the most terrible cold (not Man Flu… a cold) and it still hasn’t released its grip just yet. Feeling groggy is an understatement. Anyway, I promise to be more diligent.
Now, I feel the need to confess on two counts: firstly, I’m not a whole-hearted vegetarian. However, my fiancé, Manasseh, is vegetarian and so most of the meals I eat are veggie-friendly too by default (I mean, who wants to cook two separate meals every night?!) And confession number two? I don’t like Quorn. It’s basically bland stodge with no real texture. I also dislike seitan, but that’s another story altogether! For me, vegetarian food is all about celebrating good, seasonal vegetables and pairing them with the appropriate carbs. Vegetarian food shouldn’t be about trying to find a mock-meat that tastes like the real deal.
So, when I was given the chance to try a recent new comer to the veggie sausage world, Heck vegetarian/vegan sausages, I promised I would give them a go before jumping to any assumptions. I’m glad I did; they’re really tasty! I mean, some of the exotic flavours wouldn’t necessarily work as a substitute for a traditional banger in, say, bangers and mash. But, that’s not the point (at least, not for me.) Think of them not as a meat substitute but, rather, as different product entirely.
I was so engaged by the totally different flavour of the sausages I tried that I just had to see how they worked in baking. I could have gone simple with a sausage roll or something of that kind but I decided to push the boat out. Here they are: my veggie sausage swirls! A savoury, meat-free twist on the classic Chelsea bun.
Go on, give them a try!
Veggie Sausage Swirls
Makes: 8 buns | Prep time: 2 hours | Cooking time: 35 minutes
- 450g strong white flour
- 14g (2x sachets) instant yeast
- 50g caster sugar
- 150ml warm milk
- 50g butter, melted
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 pack (255g) Heck sausages (I used the Sweet Fusion sausages but the Bollywood Bangers would work well too!)
- 20g butter, for the filling
- Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl.
- Add your yeast and sugar, mix well, then make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients.
- In a saucepan, warm your milk and melt your butter. You want the milk to be lukewarm. The way I check this is by careful dipping my little finger into the milk (be careful not to burn yourself!) If the milk feels the about the same temperature as my finger or I feel no real temperature difference, it’s done. It shouldn’t feel noticeably hot or cold.
- Next, pour the melted butter and warm milk into the well you made in the dry ingredients and mix a little before adding the egg. Doing it this way prevents the egg scrambling when it hits the warm milk, as the cool flour will lower the milk temperature slightly.
- Fully combine the wet and dry ingredients to form a sticky dough ball.
- Now knead the dough on a floured surface for 12-15 minutes (by hand) or 5-6 minutes on a medium speed in a stand mixer. You’re looking for a springy dough that has elasticity and doesn’t tear immediately if you stretch it.
- Place the kneaded dough in a greased/oiled bowl and cover with a damp tea towel or trusty shower cap (clean, of course) and prove for one hour.
- Once proved, knock back the dough and roll out into a square measuring approximately 30x30cm. Tack the edge furthest away from you to the work surface by pressing down along the edge and pushing away from you. (This is to edge of the dough to the work surface so that you can pull it a bit taut when you come to roll it up.)
- Now, the messy bit: remove the ‘sausage meat’ from the sausage casings and mix with the remaining 20g butter (this is to make the filling a bit more spreadable.)
- Dot the sausage meat all over the rolled-out dough, and spread it all over with your fingers to form a thin coating over the dough (as best as you can possibly do.)
- Now roll the dough up by folding the edge closest to you over onto itself. Pull gently then roll, pulling the dough taut as you continue to roll until you reach to the tacked-down end.
- Use a bench scraper to release the dough from the work surface, and seal the edge.
- Cut the rolled dough into eight equal piece (halve it, halve each halve to make four, and halve each ‘fourth’ again to make eight).
- Place the eight buns, swirl side up, in a greased and lined 8” round cake tin. I like to put six buns around the outside and two in the middle.
- Leave to prove for a further 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C.
- After the buns have proved, place in the oven for 35 minutes, reducing the heat to 180°C after 15 minutes. The buns should be a dark brown colour but not burnt!
- I like to serve these as share-and-tear. I like to serve them with a chutney or pickle as the sharp, vinegar flavour will cut through the spice (and slight sweetness) well.
Heck sausages were sent to me as PR from an agency. There was no requirement to review them or to write this recipe and no payment has been made or offered. The review together with any comments are my own, unbiased opinions of the products.