Flaky, golden and unquestionably moreish, this comforting recipe for apple and leek sausage rolls is speedy to make and even speedier to eat. Utilising pork mince flavoured with leeks, thyme and crunchy apple speaks of Autumn and the sausage rolls are delicious as a warming lunch or lazy TV dinner. Inspired to develop the recipe by a visit to the Loxtonia Cider farm in Ceres, apple is the star here and I prefer using the tart Granny Smith apple over sweeter variants, as it lends a freshness to the rich unctuousness of the pork and buttery pastry.
Speaking of Loxtonia, I have a newfound fascination for all things cider after my visit to this collective of cultivation. Not only growing apples, the farm also specialises in stone fruit like plums and uses both fruits in their range of ciders. Having come of age around mass-produced cider served in sweaty bars, I’ve always been one to avoid this particular tipple. However, after sampling Loxtonia’s far more luxurious libations, I’ve since changed my mind. Good cider – like champagne – is all in the detail, with master cideries taking the utmost interest in not only the final product, but the fruit that pre-empts it.
Incepted by the Whitfield family in 2013, Loxtonia Cider has specialised in home-grown, 100% freshly pressed and naturally fermented cider using apples from their Ceres Valley farm. Truly an artisanal product that epitomises the brand’s “orchard to bottle” ethos, the Loxtonia range encapsulates the crisp vitality of fruit so lovingly cultivated in what must be one of the most fecund areas in South Africa. I’m an absolute sucker for a farm visit and found it fascinating to be re-introduced to cider in such an engaging manner.
Delicious to the core, the Loxtonia range of award winning ciders has a taste for every palate including two limited release bubbly-style Méthode Traditionelle Ciders (MTC) which we sampled upon arrival at Loxtonia’s tasting room.
Developed as a wedding present to his daughter Alexandra, Loxtonia founder and chief cider maker Larry Whitfield created the ballerina pink Blush and golden Brut bottle-fermented ciders as an elegantly apple-noted alternative to MCC. As it turns out, Larry’s foresight proved true when Loxtonia’s Blush MTC was crowned Supreme Champion and best Rosé at the prestigious 2021 International Cider Challenge in London.
Both MTCs are made in the slow, traditional French way of bottle fermentation to create the vibrant sparkle. Stylishly presented in classic sparkling wine bottles, they owe their complexity to bottle ageing for 15 months on the lees.
After sampling the MTC, we headed off to the orchards where, armed with a charmingly #cottagecore basket, we were let loose on boughs laden with Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples. There is something to be said for gathering one’s own produce – a detail that I’ve waxed lyrical about before. Picking apples from an orchard fringed by blue mountains, the black soil rich and loamy beneath my veldskoen and the occasional scent of late blossoms heady on the breeze.
Not quite romancing the stone – but rather the apple core. And it’s an infinitely better than buying fruit at my local Spar.
Returning from my visit with a veritable bushel of apples, the beginning of apple season is the ideal time to research warming recipes that utilise this versatile fruit. Enter those aforementioned utterly delectable apple and leek sausage rolls.
I’ve tweaked this lovely Jamie Oliver recipe slightly but have retained its overall simplicity. The recipe yields about 6 sausage rolls but the quantities can easily be doubled to make a larger batch. I also find that the pork mince can be rather bland in flavour so be sure to season it generously – the addition of hot English mustard adds tasty warmth!
Apple and Leek Sausage Rolls
Prep time: 25 mins /Cook time: 20 mins /Serves: 4
You will need:
- 2-3 baby leeks or 1 large leek, finely sliced
- 1 large apple (Granny Smith or Golden Delicious), finely chopped
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped
- 2 sprigs of fresh sage, chopped
- 500g pork mince
- 1 teaspoon hot English mustard
- Sea salt and black pepper
- 500g puff pastry
- 1 large egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to 200°C. In a bowl, combine the chopped leeks, apple, herbs, mince and mustard. Season with salt and pepper.
On a floured surface, roll out the pastry to 1mm thick and about 34cm x 30cm. Halve the pastry lengthways and place a strip of the mince mixture down the middle of each. Brush the pastry edges with beaten egg, carefully roll up and seal. Slice each strip into three sections and brush with the beaten egg. Score the tops and place the sausage rolls on to a lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
I love serving the sausage rolls with a dab of fruity chutney and a glass of chilled Loxtonia Easy Apple cider.