Roll with it: Eight sausage rolls put to the taste test

Roz Crowley

A filling of sausagemeat enrobed in flaky/puff pastry is unlikely to be low in fat or calories, but on a winter’s day, how bad can it be?

A hefty side of winter salad helps cut through fats and make them digestible and provides the wide range of vitamins and minerals we need in this damp weather. A head of cabbage keeps well, so thinly slice a portion, grate some carrot and raw beetroot and/or celeriac, toss in warmed olive oil, your favourite vinegar, finely grated garlic and fresh turmeric and you have a feast. I sometimes top this salad with crisply fried thinly sliced onions.

We tested only cooked sausage rolls (there are a few raw available) and warmed them in the oven for 12 minutes at 180c/350f/gas 4. I tasted them cold first, and they are edible for an easy lunch, but not at their best. I warmed them up for tasters.

Microwaving is not an option for any pastry, and won’t do sausage rolls justice. The pastry will end up leathery and soggy. Put them to heat by the fire instead.

We looked for tasty, light pastry, with a good ratio of filling to pastry and tested a few with black pudding and spices. Some butchers make their own, but they are usually uncooked.

Cinnamon Cottage 126g €1.75 each

A selection of sizeable plain, black pudding and pork, and apple and sage rolls made for an interesting testing. All of them had the lightest pastry of all samples, and just the right amount too, wrapped around good quality sausage meat, flavours balanced and comforting. They were delicious. Very good value.

Score:

9

On the Pig’s Back 75g €1.20 each

Particularly good sausagemeat is mildly peppery and balances well with the pastry. While smaller than some of the others, one is quite enough for one person.

Score:

8.25

Baxter & Greene 170g €2.85 each

In the newly extended Dunnes Stores, Bishopstown Court, Cork, this outlet will warm your sausage roll on the spot. Compact sausagemeat is low on flavour, but naturally meaty, and not over-salted. The light pastry is topped with crunchy seeds. Decent sized, one could (and perhaps should) be shared.

Score:

8

Hassetts Bakery 100g €1.75

Spicy minced pork and a plain sausage flavour provide two good options from this bakery. In a blanket of tasty pastry, the sausagemeat was dense, but the pork looser and spiced with pimento to provide a lively contrast to the pastry. See hassettsbakery.ie for outlets.

Score:

8

Priory Coffee Co 100g €3.50

Plenty of sausage mixed with black pudding has a good ratio of pastry to meat. The pastry is tasty and topped with seeds. However, while crisp on the outside, the deliciously moist filling keeps the pastry a little soggy on the inside. Best heated a little longer than others,15 minutes at least. Expensive, but large enough for two. To eat in or take away from North Main Street outlet beside Gate cinema.

Score:

8

Marks & Spencer 12 mini pork sausage rolls 400g €3

Good balance of mildly spiced meat and pastry appealed to tasters who thought one, while mini, was quite satisfying. Available in many sized packs.

Score:

7.75

Tesco 9 mini pork sausage rolls 270g €2

Spicy meat is tasty, but the pastry feels fattier than other samples. Tasters liked them, though.

Score:

7

Eastman’s 8 sausage rolls 480g €1.40

A more old fashioned style here with a lot of heavier, fatty rather than buttery, pastry. Had to be warmed up to be appealing. Mildly spiced.

Score:

6

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