Jam roly-poly

Try this jam roly-poly recipe from Florence Knight’s 'ONE: A Cook And Her Cupboard' for a nostalgic and indulgent dessert


Jam roly-poly

I’ve always had a sweet tooth and tend to look at the dessert menu first when dining out! Roly-poly pudding was the only bit of school dinners I liked, although this version is obviously an improvement on the school recipe. Homemade jam is key – this recipe makes a couple of jars of really good thick jam. I always think it’s worth making a decent quantity, so that you have plenty left over to enjoy on toast.


For the raspberry jam:

400g jam sugar

Juice of 1 unwaxed lemon

500g raspberries

For the roly-poly dough:

250g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

a pinch of salt

1 tbsp light brown sugar

125g suet pieces

About 150ml milk


1. Pop a plate in the freezer and sterilise a couple of jars – just wash them, then place in the oven for 10 minutes at 80°C to dry.

2. Pour the sugar into a large non-reactive pan (not copper or aluminium) and squeeze in the lemon juice though a sieve to avoid any pips falling in. Keeping the heat very low, stir the sugary mixture to help it dissolve. After two minutes, tumble in half of the raspberries and stir them through allowing everything to melt down and combine. Now turn the heat up and let the mixture bubble away for five minutes, stirring every so often to prevent it catching on the bottom of the pot.

3. Pour in the other half of the raspberries and boil the jam rapidly for a further five minutes using a ladle to skim off any scum that may appear on the surface. Take the pan off the heat, take the plate out of the freezer and drop a little spoonful of the jam onto the cold plate. This is to test the texture: push your finger through the red sticky mixture; if you like it quite runny then bottle it now; if not, put the plate back in the freezer and the pan back on the heat. Boil the jam for another two minutes before testing again, by which time the jam should wrinkle when you push it with your finger.

4. Pour the jam into the jars, seal and set aside, ready to smear over the roly-poly.

5. Heat the oven to 200°C/gas 7.

6. Place the flour and baking powder in a large bowl. Combine with the salt, sugar and suet pieces and just enough milk to create a soft, but not sticky, dough. Don’t worry if there’s milk left over – you may not need all of it. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead gently for about ten minutes until it becomes a tacky and springy ball.

7. Cut a large rectangular piece of greaseproof paper (at least 32cm x 24cm) and lightly rub with a little butter. Roll the dough into a rectangle about 28cm x 20cm and lift onto the buttered greaseproof paper. Dollop four tablespoons of the jam into the centre and spread it outwards, leaving a 2-3cm jam-free border.

8. Gently roll the dough from the long side – fold the jam-free border tightly over where it meets the jam, then roll the rest of the dough up gently, making sure it finishes seam side down on the paper. Now take the edges of the greaseproof paper and carefully wrap the roly-poly loosely – remember it will expand when cooked. Twist the end of the paper like a Christmas cracker and tie tightly at the ends with kitchen string to secure. Just to protect it further, wrap it loosely in a large piece of aluminium foil (again about 32cm x 24cm), twisting the ends like a cracker once more.

9. Place the rolled dough parcel onto a roasting rack set over a roasting tin. Trickle boiling water into the tin until about half full. Bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes.

10. Carefully lift out the roasting tin and roly-poly parcel from the oven. Snip through the foil, string and greaseproof paper with scissors, folding back all the layers to reveal a risen, gilded roly-poly. Please don’t be disappointed if the jam has escaped through the dough; it will taste just as good and any imperfections can be covered up by a tablespoon of Demerara sugar sprinkled over the top. Place generous slices of the roly-poly into bowls and serve while piping hot with lots of custard.

From ONE: A Cook And Her Cupboard by Florence Knight (Saltyard Books, £26)

Photograph: Jason Lowe/Hodder & Stoughton