Recipe for Jam Roly Poly - It Doesn't Get More English Than This, People

The autumn leaves are falling, the mornings are getting frosty, the nights are drawing in - it’s the kind of weather that makes me want to set aside summer salads, and light desserts, and tuck into hearty winter stews with roast potatoes, followed by stodgy puddings with custard.

Yeah, who am I kidding, I tuck into stews, roast potatoes, and custard-accompanied puddings all year round. What can I say, I like my food :-)

So, last night I made the Best Classic English Pudding Of All Time – jam roly poly. Served with lashings of custard, naturally. I used a Jamie Oliver recipe (well, I use Jamie recipes for pretty much everything), and I can tell you, it was DIVINE:

Here are the ingredients:

Self raising flour, baking powder, butter, milk, jam, vanilla, 1 egg and 1 orange. You'll also need greaseproof paper, and kitchen foil. You’ve probably got all these things sitting in the cupboard right now. Go on, get started!

Sieve 225g of self raising flour into a bowl. Add 150g of butter, cut into slices. Then rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs:

If you’ve got little ones, this is a great activity. Seriously, there’s nothing better as a kid than being given flour and butter and told to rub them together. I remember doing this when I was a young un, and having a splendid time.

It’s said that when you make dough in this way, you should end up with flour no higher than your knuckles. I had flour up to my elbows. I had flour on my face. There was flour on the walls. Good times. This part of the recipe can take around 15-20 minutes  to do it properly, so put some music on and get stuck in.

When your floury buttery breadcrumbs are ready, grate in the zest of 1 orange, and mix it in. Add 1 heaped teaspoon of baking powder, a pinch of salt, and a few drops of vanilla essence. Pour 150ml of milk into a measuring jug:

Now, you won’t need all that milk, so pour it in a little at a time, stopping every time you pour to mix it in well. You can use a fork to mash it in, or your hands. It should start sticking together really quickly, and you can start to push it together into a ball, which should be smooth, but not sticky. Put the dough into a clean bowl, and leave it for 30 minutes.

You already know that my small spotted Jack Russell (as opposed to my big fluffy Jack Russell) likes to lick the last drops of milk up from the bottom of the jug. So that’s what she did here. No, she’s not spoiled.

The next stage is to roll the dough out onto a floured surface until it’s about 30cm wide. It may crack a little, but you can stick it back together as you go along.

Next up, butter a piece of greaseproof paper. Yes, I know that sounds a little weird. But I figured hey, clearly I’ve entered the greaseproof buttering phase of life, and I was OK with that, so I just went with it:

Ladle some jam onto the centre of the dough (I used a mixture of strawberry and raspberry). Beat the egg, and brush it around the rim. Next up, roll your roly poly (roll your poly?) up very carefully:

You can see in the photos that I first rolled one side from right to left. Then I folded over the top and bottom sides to keep the jam from escaping. Then I rolled from right to left some more. Then I folded the remaining left piece onto the main roll. I pinched the ends together firmly to stop the jam from making a break for it:

Some jam made it through anyway. So did some egg. One day I will cook neatly, and take nice, tidy, stylish photos of my efforts. Until then, I’ll just keep on cooking in a chaotic mess of jam, egg and flour.

Very, very carefully lift the roly poly onto the buttered paper, and wrap the paper around it. Then wrap the whole thing in two layers of tin foil, and place it on top of a wire tray, which is in turn balanced on top of an ovenproof dish, which is filled with boiling water:

Wrap some more foil over the whole contraption, and place it in the oven for about 2 hours at 150 Celsius. Top the boiling water up every 30 minutes or so.

Serve with large amounts of custard. According to Jamie, it should serve six, but we found that it served two people with some leftovers for tonight. Yum!

You might like to tell me that you know of a contender for the Best Classic English Pudding Of All Time. And tell me where to find the recipe. In which case, I might cook it to check it out for myself. Especially if it involves rubbing flour into butter :-)