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A traditional English pudding recipe Baked Jam Roly-Poly

Updated on September 1, 2013

Jam Roly Poly, a traditional English pudding to serve with Custard or Cream that the whole family will love.

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Fresh out of the oven Jam Roly-Poly
Fresh out of the oven Jam Roly-Poly

Traditional English Puddings

In these days of fast food and slimming clubs we seem to have lost one of our most special of English comfort foods, the good old traditional English pudding.

I know for some of us this brings back memories of home-cooked Sunday lunches finished off with a pudding so heavy that we can't get off the couch for the rest of the day and to others it means the horror of the lukewarm, stodgy school puddings.

Personally my Mother never cooked puddings or baked (for which I shall be eternally grateful as she wasn't a good cook) the closest we got to a dessert was an ice-cream cone from the ice-cream and sweet van in the evening (Marchetti Brothers of Glasgow), or an Arctic Roll from the local supermarket. It is for this very reason that I adore making the more traditional English puddings that were so sadly missing from my childhood.


Today to celebrate the glorious English pudding I am making Jam Roly-Poly which was also known as 'Dead Man's Arm or Leg', I've been told it was named this because it was often served/baked inside a men's shirt sleeve, but to my mind it does look a bit like the olde name suggests - however, please don't let this put you off because it is a truly comforting, filling and delicious pudding.

Some people steam this pudding for a couple of hours which will give you a fluffy soft pudding, I am far too impatient (and greedy) to wait that long so in this recipe you'll find that the pudding is baked for 35-40 minutes in the oven giving you a crisp finish, and which I think is a perfect amount of time to wait after dinner so that your main course has a chance to be digested and you have room for something scrumptious.


8oz / 250g Self-Raising Flour

4oz / 125g Shredded Suet

6-8 tablespoons Water

4 tablespoons Raspberry Jam, slightly warmed

2-3 tablespoons of Whole Milk

1 large Free Range Egg, beaten

A Pinch of Salt

A scattering of Caster Sugar (to glaze)

Suet or Vegetarian Suet?

I generally use vegetarian suet if I'm cooking a pudding and more often than not I use Atora light which is 30% lower in fat than the non-light variety. You can use normal beef suet for making puddings indeed a lot of people swear by it but I feel, and this is just my opinion, that there really is no need to put any type of animal fat into my desserts. I am not by the way vegetarian I just think it makes sense and I like it when the world makes sense, because a lot of the time it doesn't.

How To Make Your Jam Roly-Poly

  • In a large bowl sift the 8oz/225g of Self-Raising Flour and add the pinch of salt.
  • Add the 4oz/125g Shredded Suet into the bowl.
  • Now a little at a time add the 6-8 tablespoons of water so that it forms a soft dough but not so much that it becomes sticky. Obviously the amount of water has a lot to do with the make of flour that you're using, and the humidity/temperature in your kitchen, sometimes it needs more, sometimes less, as you work the dough with your hands you will know how much it needs just remember a little at a time is the golden rule.
  • Now your going to tip your dough onto a floured surface and after dusting your rolling pin with flour you need to roll it out till it is 8in x 12in / (20cm x 30cm).
  • Warm your jam gently in the microwave, keep an eye on it as it gets hot very quickly.
  • Now spread it all over your dough (see my tip below for extra filling) and leave about 1cm of naked dough all the way around.
  • Next fold over the 1 cm of dough creating a raised edge, a bit like a picture frame, this is much easier than it sounds, and will look like this:

Looking good!
Looking good!
  • Brush the 'picture frame' with milk, this will stick all the edge together sealing in the filling.
  • Now with the short edge towards you you're going to roly-poly it, i.e. roll the dough loosely to form what looks like a log.

  • Transfer the pudding onto a non-stick baking sheet, on a baking tray.
  • Brush the pudding (yep it's a pudding now) all over with the beaten egg, which will give it a lovely crisp finish when it's cooked.
  • Then generously scatter the pudding with sugar.

  • Place in the oven for 35-40 minutes, please keep an eye on it as you don't want it to be too brown.

This is traditionally served with custard but I prefer it with double cream.

As you can see from a number of my blogs I do a lot of baking and my family do a lot of eating, but my daughter announced that this was the best thing I had ever made - and that's quite a compliment.

My apologies that this photo wasn't as clear as it should have been but I was in a rush as I didn't want it to get cold before I sunk my teeth into it :)
My apologies that this photo wasn't as clear as it should have been but I was in a rush as I didn't want it to get cold before I sunk my teeth into it :)

Eileen's Tip:

Because my husband has an allotment and I have a number of fruit bushes and trees in my garden I always have a glut of fruit so I make various types of fruit compote, I then tend to add a few large spoonfuls of the fresh fruit compote to the jam making the overall pudding much more fruity and succulent.


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    • profile image

      SJmorningsun25 5 years ago

      Looks fantastic! Yum!

    • Eileen Goodall profile image

      Eileen Goodall 5 years ago from Buckinghamshire, England

      It was, there's some left but you may have to fight my best friend Jane for it :)

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