Mini sausage rolls or tiny ham and cheese pastries are the classic party fodder, and completely deservedly so. Make ahead, bake on the day, disappear in minutes.
Party rolls for party people! But seriously – no fancy ceviche or baba ghanoush canapes can beat old-fashioned puff pastry sausage or ham and cheese rolls.
The best party food
I realised that a while ago while preparing a buffet for a New Year’s Eve do. I had a plan that included Thai beef salad, with mini tacos or gem lettuce leaves to wrap the salad in.
There were going to be smoked salmon and balsamic parcels, prawn salad kebabs and crudites with a labneh dip. And when I shared those exciting plans with one of my prospective guests, she asked: ‘But you’ll make those little sausage pastries too, right?’
Let’s be honest – party food is not, nor is it supposed to be the healthiest nosh. Plus, fatty and carby foods are good to soak up the booze when cocktails are involved. And everybody loves them.
How to make mini party rolls
It seems like a tedious, fiddly process but it is not that at all. A couple of sheets of ready puff pastry will make a lot of mini rolls – unless of course you want to stand up to the challenge and make your own rough puff pastry.
The sausage rolls are best made with chipolatas, considering their size. Buy the best quality sausages you can. I recommend removing the casing as it might be unpleasantly chewy and stringy in the rolls.
They can be made days ahead and baked on the day of the party, festively brushed with egg wash.
The ham and cheese rolls are a variation on the theme. Good ham, grated cheese and a favourite relish – I do recommend red onion marmalade – rolled up into puff pastry, is a sure hit. The cheese will leak as it is wont to do but it’s not a problem – it will look quite attractive, like a crisp lace.
How to handle puff pastry?
Puff pastry is pretty resilient, unlike filo for instance which you have to keep covered and drown in oil while you work with it. Let the puff pastry sheet come to room temperature when you remove it from the fridge, otherwise it might crack.
But make sure the finished products are very well chilled before baking; at least half an hour or more, and going straight from the fridge to the oven. Otherwise the butter contained in the pastry in copious quantity will melt and escape the dough before the pastry is sealed by baking.
That’s why it is not only handy but advisable to prepare the pastries ahead, so they have time to chill.
More party food recipes
Celery sounds like the party food nobody ever eats, but not in this preparation: celery salad with furikake will definitely change your outlook on celery.
Asparagus wrapped in filo, that’s probably the best thing you can do with asparagus – and filo pastry.
Just like pizza, nachos are gorgeous even when cold and a little soggy. Make a batch of nachos with beef chilli for your next friends’ get-together.
More puff pastry recipes
Puff pastry tartlets are another party classic. Here with three kinds of filling: prawn, spinach and bacon.
Posh nosh or pub grub? Burger wellington wrapped in puff pastry is a revelation and one of those easy-impressive recipes.
Tarte Tatin with tomatoes, upside-down tomato pie with the base of puff pastry. So easy. So gorgeous.