Baked jam roly poly

I have wanted to make jam roly poly for ages but haven’t got round to it.  You can either steam it, wrapped in a cloth in a bain marie, or you can bake it like I did on Sunday.  I decided to bake it because it needs 3 hours of steaming and when I am cooking Sunday lunch I need all four ovens of my Aga available for action. The steaming pudding would have taken up quite a bit of my simmering oven.  Anyway,I prepared it early on and cooked it early and then kept it warm covered in foil in the warming oven.  I wouldn’t do this again though, it would have been better, I think, fresh out of the oven.  Oh well, I live and learn.

I made proper custard to go with it, and it was an enjoyable change to the sunday dessert menu. Next time, I will try steaming it and see which version I prefer.

I used Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s recipe in the The River Cottage Year as a guide, but adapted it to be baked rather than steamed and because I had 200g of suet, not 250g as HFW’s recipe calls for.

You can make this vegetarian by using the vegetarian suet that is available. You can also try different fillings, maybe mincemeat, or syrup with raisins and sultanas and a bit of chopped apple (ooh that sounds good, I might do that next time).

My mum had made strawberry jam from the piles of summer strawberries in her freezer, so that was the obvious choice for me, but I wonder what a marmalade roly poly would be like?

200g (8oz) shredded suet
400g (16 oz) self raising flour
pinch of salt
about 200-250ml cold water

Jam or filling of your choice (I used about half a jar of strawberry jam)


In a large bowl mix the suet, flour and salt together and pour in 200ml of water to begin with and mix to a stiff but manageable dough.  You may need to add more water to achieve this.

Flour a work surface.  Shape the dough into a square and then roll into a rectangle until the dough is about 1 cm thick.  Spread the jam or filling, leaving a good margin around the edge.  Brush the margin with a little water, then fold over the edges of the dough all around to seal in the filling.

Then roll from the short edge like a swiss roll, sealing with a little water.

Place on a baking tray seal-side down and place in a preheated oven at 180°c for 30-40 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm with custard.

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30 thoughts on “Baked jam roly poly”

    1. Hi TAWC I will have to speak to my mum about that, but I think she just puts them on a tray, whole, and then once frozen into bags and they seem to keep their colour. She has a wonderful strawberry patch which was very productive last year. A midwinter bonus 🙂

  1. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at a jam roly poly but I had no idea it could be baked. You’ve opened up a whole new world of opportunities to me. Looks just the ticket for a wintery pud too ;0)

  2. Kath, there’s no stopping you at the moment – you’re on a roll 😉

    My mouth is watering, I love suet puds and steamed puds. I suspect the steamed version will come out tops, but I await your verdict.

    1. I will let you know what I think when I try the steamed version. You might be right, you can’t beat a steamed syrup sponge can you? You could say I am on a roll-y poly (couldn’t resist, sorry).

  3. As Choc says you’re most definately on a roll.

    I once copied down HFW’s Jam Roly-Poly recipe; he’d put in a saturday Guardian. The way he explained it, it looked like a tremendous faff. Your recipe looks much easier. I could be tempted to have a go at yours instead of HFW’s.

    It’s Jam Roly-Poly! This one sounds marvellous – Mincemeat or Apple err… not so much. Don’t succumb to the dark forces of Mincemeat winking at you from the back of the cupboard. x

    1. VBB – you been off gallivanting again? Welcome back. Give it a go, I think I remember that recipe in the guardian, did he bake it then or steam it? I seem to remember he baked it. Well, put jam in it then if you must, but I am quite tempted by the raisins, apple and syrup. It sounds like a baked apple but with the added bonus of pastry – all good. Looking forward to the next VBB post.

  4. My children made this on Sunday, I have posted pictures on my blog and added a link to this page. Hope this is ok with you x Cat x

  5. Victor Bennett

    Hi there!
    I remember jam roly poly from boarding school in England. We used to call it “sore leg” because it looked like an injured leg after rugby! Mixed parallel with the jam there was a white sauce. Would you happen to know what this white sauce was and how to make it? Best wishes from Cape Town, Victor (with typo correction)

    1. Hi Victor,
      Thanks for visiting here. Sore leg – that sounds like a very off putting name for roly poly but I guess that is what happens at school! I am really sorry I have no idea what the white sauce could have been. I have tried googling and had no hints. The only thing I can think is if they made a creme anglaise (or proper custard) and filled the roly poly with that. Other than that I cannot imagine what it can have been. I hope someone else may be able to help. I will post your query on the UK Food Bloggers Association and see if any other food bloggers have any ideas.

  6. Victor Bennett

    Dear Kath,
    Thank you for your kind reply. I too have tried googling the white sauce that I distinctly remember from the jam roly poly at school. Obviously it has to be a sauce that can resist the baking. My last resort is to email my old school to find out if anyone there still remembers after 50 years! Victor

    1. Hi Victor,
      Well, I have been racking my brains and searching my old cook books, but still nothing. I will let you know if any other food bloggers have any idea. I do hope you find the recipe soon. Let me know if you do, I would be interested in trying it.

    2. Hi again Victor,
      The Hampshire Cook thinks it might be a buttercream filling. Does this seem familiar to you? Her response is below:
      “I think it is maybe a butter cream, you know, butter and sugar beaten together with a drop or two of vanilla essence. You spread on after the thin sponge is baked and cooled, then put jam on top of that, then roll up in some complex way involving cling film and swearing quietly to yourself…My mum made it a couple of times, always cracked on rolling though. We didn’t care.”

  7. Victor Bennett

    Thank you again Kath for the feedback…but isn’t butter cream yellowish? The sauce I remember baked in with the jam was definitely white. As schoolboys we always used to comment on it. Needless to say it was one of our favourites, together with “wedge” which was a thinnish jam pie with pastry top and bottom. Regards, Victor

    1. Victor, I do hope you are still following this thread. I have just bought a second hand Josceline Dimbleby cookery book and was looking through it and found a recipe called Rugola. This, according to Josceline is a Russian version of the Jam roly poly and the filling includes fresh curd cheese and the penny dropped and I thought of you and your search for the pudding of your childhood. Please let me know if you get this message and I will send you the recipe. Best wishes, Kath

  8. Ther recipe looks good but I remember my mother used to baste the roly poly in a butter and water mix. Do you have any info on this?

  9. My mum also baked her roly poly in the oven in a sugar water and butter syrup – tasted like toffee and was simply the most delicious pudding!!! Going back 50 years when everything was healthy lol…

    1. I have never tried it, but I don’t see why not as it is just a type of pastry. I am not sure whether it would be best to cook from frozen or to thaw beforehand. I think I would cook from frozen and leave to cook for a little longer.

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