Like the rest of Britain, my little corner of the Shire is caked in snow. What better reason to stay indoors, crank up the oven – particularly if your heating is as ineffective as mine – and bake something to keep you warm?
Jam roly poly is one of my top puddings and despite falling out of favour for a few years, is beginning to return to the height of tea time popularity.
Part of the reason many people recoil from this delicious treat is the fact it contains suet. You may not think that your desserts have been lacking in rendered beef fat, but they have. The technical details of what suet is fail to mention the light unctuous flavour of pastries and puddings made with it. If you are currently retching into a bucket reading this, vegetarian suet is available, although it never seems as rich to me and yields a slightly stodgier result.
It’s worth mentioning that jam roly poly hails from a time when food was scarce and every calorie counted… in the opposite way to how it does now. This is not something you want to eat every day, but building all those snowmen is going to take fuel.
I can only offer one serving suggestion for this:
Judge, lest not ye be judged…
Jam Roly Poly
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
250g self raising flour
75g golden caster sugar
150g suet (veggie if you must)
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup raspberry jam
An egg, beaten
1) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celcium. Sift the flour into a bowl and add the caster sugar. Plonk in the suet and just enough water to create a soft, but not too sticky dough.
2) Pop your dough onto a floured work surface and try to shape it roughly into a rectangle. Aim for 8 x 12 and about 1cm thick. Place it landscape in front of you. Now for the nerve wracking bit.
3) Zap your jam in the microwave for 30 seconds and grab a pastry brush. Generously paint your flat poly with jam, leaving a 1cm border around the edge. When you’re done, fold the jamless border in on to itself, to encase the lovely jammy centre.
4) Take a deep breath (or a swig of wine), and begin rolling the roly poly up like a giant swissroll. Move steadily, trying to keep straight but keeping it tight. Tightness is paramount. Transfer to a greased baking sheet as elegantly as you can manage.
5) Generously cover your roly poly with beaten egg to make it a little prettier, then whack it in the oven for 40 minutes. You should probably spend that time doing push ups.
6) Remove from the oven and allow to cool very briefly, before slicing generously, covering in custard and thoroughly enjoying.
A word of warning… you must roll this tightly. If you don’t, it might just lose its lovely Swiss roll shape and become a bit rounder…