Yep, your eyes are not deceiving you. I said pork fat pastry. This stuff is the bee's knees, the cat's pyjamas. It's sweet, salty, flakey, moreish - everything a good pastry should be. Once you wrap your head around the fact you're making pastry with the most direct route to heart disease (pure animal fats), it's a cinch.
The fat I've used in the pastry is called leaf fat. It's the cleanest, whitest fat on the pig from near the kidneys. My butcher at Skinner and Hackett (you're right if you think I live there. I've made a few visits there of late in preparation for football fever), tells me a lady he knows makes a dreamy puff pastry with the stuff and fashions little plum tarts. My gluttonous brain just about went into meltdown at the thought of that. Must. Eat. Pig. Fat. Pastry. It's also the best stuff to use in salami - I think I've found the common denominator in my favourite foods.
I thought about making puff pastry but decided I'd rather spend my time making two different stuffings (my indecisive brain at work again). Pork, fennel and chilli today. Chicken and sage tomorrow. Pork fat short crust pastry every day!
You can, of course, substitute butter for the pork fat. I'll admit, it's more labour intensive and difficult to find. If you do happen to track it down at your butcher, ask them to grind it for you and then you have absolutely no excuse (apart from chest pains. I'm not prepared to send you to your grave for the sake of a flakey pastry. Not this time, anyway). I ground the fat myself. If you have a grinder you should try it out. My only tip is to keep everything chilled - you'll get a better grind that way.
We enjoyed our sausage rolls with a Forrest Brewing Company Pale Ale that I picked up at Blackhearts and Sparrows. I wanted something relatively crisp and sweet to cut through the rich porky flavour - this one did the trick nicely. And it's brewed just near Apollo Bay, where we spent many a holiday as a family, choking on squid rings and being dunked in the surf. Good times.
If you're feeling guilty at the thought of eating pork fat when you're already eating a giant hunk of meat (not to mention downing a tasty brew), don't. Just don't. Your spoiling all the fun in sausage rolls. Besides, you can't let any part of Ms Piggy go unwanted. Eating belly or shoulder is a no-brainer. Eat the leaf fat and you're showing respect to the animal by leaving nothing to waste. Well, showing as much respect as a callous murderer can.
150g pork fat, ground
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp milk
500g minced pork
1/2 tbsp fennel seeds
1 long red chilli
1/2 brown onion
1 egg, lightly beaten
To make the pastry, combine the flour, sugar, salt and fat in a food processor and mix until combined. Add the egg and milk and pulse briefly to incorporate. Tip out onto the bench and knead briefly until a dough is formed. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
To make the stuffing, finely dice the onion. Toast the fennel seeds for about 30 seconds over a low heat. Grind quickly with a mortar and pestle. Finely shred the chilli. Mix all ingredients together.
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celsius. Take pastry from the fridge and let rest for 5 minutes. Roll out to about 5mm thickness in a rectangular shape. Spread with pork filling (you may have some left over). Leave 3cm edge and brush with beaten egg. Roll the pastry over the filling and brush with more egg to seal. Cut into rolls approximately 8 cm long. Place on baking sheet lined with baking paper and brush again all over with egg.
Bake in the oven for approximately 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.