These “sausage” rolls are easy to assemble and great for a party. The recipe is also very versatile. You could substitute carrot or sweet potato for the pumpkin, cooked cannellini beans for the chickpeas, and use your favourite greens and herbs. The olive oil pastry is easy to make and very different in texture and handling from shortcrust pastry. If time is short, you could purchase all-butter puff pastry.

This is a good dish for young hands to exercise and hone their fine motor skills – chopping, mixing, rolling, assembling and sprinkling – as well as introducing a delicious plant-based alternative to meat-based sausage rolls. Need more than a dozen? Encourage children to use their maths skills by doubling or even tripling the quantities needed.

This pastry is the one I use for other fruit and vegetable tortes where a very thin layer of pastry is stretched over quite chunky fillings. It is super flexible yet strong and will stretch in all directions. The work surface will need to be well floured, as will the rolling pin, and you will probably be surprised at the texture. The advantage is that the sausage rolls end up being about the filling, not a thick layer of pastry.

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Stephanie Alexander’s pumpkin, chickpea and sage “sausage” rolls
Makes 12 rolls
Prep time: 1 hour, plus cooling
Cooking time: 1 hour and 5 minutes

Ingredients:
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
185ml (¾ cup) cold water

300g (2 cups) plain flour

Good pinch of salt

Sesame seeds, for topping
Tonkatsu sauce or kasundi-style tomato chutney, to serve (optional)

Filling
250g peeled pumpkin, chopped into 2cm chunks
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
6 large sage leaves, sliced
3 leaves silverbeet (or Tuscan kale or cabbage), stripped from stems and shredded
400g can cooked chickpeas
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Glaze
1 free-range egg
Pinch of salt

Method:
To make the pastry, mix the oil into the water in a measuring cup.

In a food processor, combine the flour and salt. With the motor running, pour in the water and olive oil mixture. Process for less than a minute or so until the pastry forms a ball. Scrape the rather sticky dough onto your well-floured work surface and give it a quick knead to bring it together into a silky smooth ball. Put it in a bowl, cover with a cloth and leave for 30 minutes while you prepare the filling.

Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced).

To make the filling, put the pumpkin in a bowl, drizzle with half the oil and stir to combine. Spread in a single layer on a small baking tray and bake for 30 minutes until a skewer easily slips through each piece. Remove the pumpkin from the oven (leave the oven on for the pastry) and straight away crush the pumpkin on the tray using a potato masher. Allow to cool. It is not expected to be completely smooth. Once cool, spoon into a large bowl.

While the pumpkin is baking, heat the rest of the oil in a small frying pan over medium heat and saute the onion, garlic and sage for 3–4 minutes until the onion starts to soften. Stir to prevent it sticking. Add the silverbeet or other greens, mix well, cover, lower the heat and cook for a few more minutes until the greens have wilted. Cool, then add to the mashed pumpkin.

Drain the chickpeas through a colander, tip them onto a plate and roughly crush them with the potato masher. Add the chickpeas to the bowl with the pumpkin and silverbeet mixture. Season very well (see Note below).

For the glaze, whisk the egg and salt in a small bowl and have a pastry brush ready. Also have nearby a baking tray lined with baking paper.

Divide the pastry in half. Work with one piece at a time. On a well-floured work surface, roll the first piece out to a rectangle about 24cm long and 12cm wide. You will be able to pat and pull it into shape with your hands. Spoon half the filling down the centre of the pastry rectangle, leaving a 2cm border around the edges. Brush the exposed pastry with the egg glaze, then lift one edge of the pastry up and over the filling. Bring the other edge up and over to meet and
overlap it to enclose the filling. The roll will seal readily. Gently turn the roll over and move onto the prepared baking tray. Repeat with the second pastry rectangle and the rest of the filling. Brush the entire surface of each log with the glaze. Cut each log into six pieces using a serrated knife. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, then bake for 30 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack before serving.

Serve with tonkatsu sauce or kasundi-style tomato chutney, if desired.

Note: I use the Warndu Feel Good Salt & Pepper to season savoury mixes like this. It is a mixture of Murray Valley salt, Tasmanian black pepper and ground saltbush.

This is a lightly edited excerpt from Fresh *by Stephanie Alexander, published by Macmillan Australia, RRP $44.99, photography by Alan Benson.*