It’s been some time since I put a new post up (methinks must do better!) and Christmas is upon us! Time flies wether you are having fun or not. Last year after my operation I really couldn’t do too much. I tried to cook the Christmas lunch but flailed at the last hurdle! This year my thoughts have turned to Bridies! These are Scottish in origin said to have been ‘invented’ by a Forfar baker in the 1850s. They are similar to pasties, but because they are made without potatoes, are much lighter in texture. Mine are a tad different – and here is the story on them. I shared a flat with my friend Linda and when she returned from Scotland after the Hogmanay festivities she brought home a big batch of these little ‘mini’ Bridies which were filled with a morsel of seasoned sausage meat. Her father was a Master Baker and would make these as an alternative to sausage rolls. I decided to recreate them for a party my neighbours were holding – I made about 100 and took the first batch down on a large plate, returned to my flat and came down with the second batch (about 20 minutes later) on another large plate – I was pretty much shocked to find the first batch had been scoffed! A similar thing happened when I made them for a concert at the church where I worked a few years back. So, with all that scoffing as a recommendation, I now make them for Christmas! In essence, they are fundamentally a ‘sausage roll’ which is enclosed in pastry! So please try them and see what you think!
A few words about the pastry – you can buy shop-bought puff pastry but it is very inferior to making your own. I had some in my fridge so the first batch I made were with this pastry. But instead of just using it straight from the packet – I flicked over a few butter cubes and rolled and folded and chilled twice to give the pastry a good flavour ‘and’ some lightness which I feel shop-bought puff pastry just doesn’t have!
Making your own puff pastry really is a doddle – but, yes, it does take up a bit of time – however, you can make two days before and store in the fridge or for longer keeping time you can actually freeze it for a month! I would suggest you freeze it in 500g batches to use for recipes!
So here is the recipe for my Mini Sausage Bridies! Starting with the pastry.
MINI SAUSAGE BRIDIES
Easy to make – for the pastry approx., 2 hours rolling and chilling. Making the sausage meat stuffing approx., 20 mins. Assembling and cooking 50 mins. All timings are approximate. This recipe makes approximately 27-30.
For the pastry:
250g plain flour
250g butter – cut into small cubes of about 1cm
A good pinch of fine sea salt
150 mls of cold water (approx) see recipe
For the filling:
5 spring onions – topped and tailed
250g sausage meat
2 garlic cloves – crushed or grated
a tsp of dried sage
a good grating of fresh nutmeg
a good turn of the pepper mill
A whole beaten egg for glazing
Sift the plain flour and salt into your food processor bowl with the paddle attached – the mixing blade and not the cutting blade (or a large mixing bowl) then throw in the butter cubes pulse a couple of times so they are evenly distributed and coated with flour (if you are doing this by hand just mix them around in the flour and ensure they are all coated with the flour).
Now gradually add about 50mls of the cold water – pulsing a few times with the blender or stirring if you are working by hand. Now repeat this with another 50mls of cold water and check how damp your mixture is. With the final 50mls add this gradually until your mixture comes together – you really do not want it slopping around the bowl – the flour should be marbled with the butter! Take it out of the bowl and bring together – pop into a freezer bag or a clean bowl covered with cling film and chill in your fridge for 20 minutes. This will make the dough easier to work with.
Prepare your worktop for rolling by sifting over some plain flour and rub flour over your rolling pin, then when the 20 mins are up take out your pastry and ‘lightly’ knead together into a rectangle shape ready for rolling. Now roll the pastry out in one direction only (we are building up layers here) until it is roughly about 20 x 50cm. Do not worry about the butter that you can see – this will eventually disappear. Try to keep the edges straight down the sides and I know this is difficult – on the first rolling I fold them lightly inward if need be.
Building up the flaky layers.
Fold the top 1/3rd of the pastry dough down to just past the centre and then the bottom 1/3rd over it. Now turn the pastry by a quarter so the bottom is now on your right hand side and roll the pastry to 3 times its length – do not work on the width only the length – and once again roll the top 1/3rd to the middle and the bottom 1/3rd over that. Repeat this once more and then pop in a freezer bag (or cover with cling film) and refrigerate for another 20 minutes.
You are going to repeat the rolling and chilling 2 more times. It is easy to remember if you think of 3’s – you roll and fold 3 times, you chill, you do this 3 times.
I use a food processor for this with the chopping blade attached – but they are just as easy to make by hand – just takes a bit longer. For the food processor – chop your spring onions into 1 inch lengths and place in the processor bowl (by hand chop them up very finely and drop into a mixing bowl) now add the sausagemeat and pulse a few times to mix everything. If you are working by hand you need to mix the sausagemeat and the onions together with your hand to ensure they are fully mixed. Grate or crush in your garlic cloves, add the teaspoon of sage, the nutmeg and the pepper and pulse a good few times until they are all mixed thoroughly. By hand just keep on squashing it all together until mixed and soft.
Put into a bowl or bag in the fridge to keep cool until needed.
Preheat your oven to gas mark7/425F/220C and once your pastry is ready after the final chilling, take it out of the fridge and roll out the pastry fairly thinly (I do this in two batches as I find it easier) – take a large mug or a large cutter (about 10cm in diameter) and cut out your pastry circles. Re-roll the scraps by layering them on each other rather than rolling into a ball as this will keep the layers intact.
Beat your egg in a small bowl and line your baking sheet with non-stick baking parchment.
Take the sausagemeat filling out of the fridge and using your fingers put about a teaspoon full in each and then paint around the exposed edges with the egg-wash. Fold over your Bridie into a half-moon shape and press seal the edges together. Repeat with all of them. Next you need to make sure all the edges are properly sealed together so, using the end of the pastry brush or the handle of a knife, indent the edges of the pastries. Next, using a pastry brush, glaze generously with the egg wash and place on your baking sheet – give them about 1cm between each Bridie. Pop into the oven for 10 minutes – then take out and reglaze with the egg wash (this will give a nice pastry crust and a gorgeous ‘burnished’ finish) turn the sheet around and bake for another 10 minutes.
Take out of the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining Bridies until all are cooked.
You can store them in the fridge for 3 days and rewarm in a low oven, on a baking sheet, for about 10 minutes until heated through. You can also freeze them at this stage (I do this in manageable batches in freezer bags but you can layer them in a large freezer box interleaved with some baking parchment). To reheat from frozen – bring to room temperature and pop onto a baking sheet and into a low oven for about 15 mins.
You can crate your own fillings such as minced lamb with fresh mint and parsley, onion and garlic and a little cinnamon or cumin.