I’ve never met a child who didn’t like a sausage pie and this Hallowe’en plait is a cheap and easy addition to a spooktastic table. To be honest, it makes me laugh every time I look at it, so it wouldn’t be out of place at a grown-ups’ supper either.
I’ve added onion and herbs to the stuffing mixture and it’s the work of minutes, but if you’re really harassed and in a hurry, just go with good quality sausage meat.
Mummy Sausage Plait
450g good quality, well seasoned sausage meat, or about 8 sausages, skinned
1 medium onion
1 stick of celery
1 heaped tbs chopped fresh herbs: I used mostly parsley plus fennel and rosemary but sage and thyme are also good
Stuffed olives or black olives and red pepper, for the eyes
1 sheet of ready-rolled puff pastry, preferably all butter
1 small egg, beaten, to glaze
Peel the onion, de-string the celery, and strip the herbs from their stems. Then either chop very finely or whizz in a food processor until chopped small but not pureed. Place in a bowl with the sausage meat and mix thoroughly.
Line a baking sheet with baking paper, unroll the pastry and shape the sausage mixture into what at this stage will look like a particularly unattractive homunculus.
Slice the pastry at a slight angle on either side to form the wrappings (see picture below), leaving a gap for the eyes. Fold down a piece to form the top of the head wrapping. Use any offcuts to bolster the sides, otherwise a lot of the juices will leak (they will anyway but you can minimise it).
Start wrapping the mummy, plaiting from one side to the other. Cut any remnants into more strips to criss-cross the figure in a haphazard fashion. Try to ensure most of the filling is covered. Cut slices from the stuffed olives for the eyes, or cut out circles from black olives and red pepper as I did. Press them gently into place.
Egg wash the pastry and place in the fridge, still on the baking sheet, for 30-40 minutes to firm up. Heat the oven to 200C/180 fan/400F/Gas Mark 6.
Optional extra: download The Bangles’ Walk Like An Egyptian, do a sand dance round the kitchen and snigger at your handiwork.
Remove the mummy from the fridge (how often do you get to write that?) and egg wash again. Bake for 30-40 minutes, turning halfway through so it cooks evenly, until golden brown and cooked through. Rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving, or serve cold. Once cool, refrigerate if not eating straight away.
This can be re-heated in the centre of a moderate oven, about 180C/160 fan/350F/Gas Mark 4, for 20 minutes or until piping hot. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t catch. Allow to rest again for 10-15 minutes before slicing. Happy Hallowe’en!