Jam Roly Poly – School Dinner Memories

Rate this recipe

As another in an occasional series of recipes I have Jam Roly Poly.  This was a school dinner favourite when I was a youngster.  Served with custard it was something everybody looked forward too.

This is a steamed suet pudding, which when made at school would probably have been wrapped tightly in foil and steamed in large pans.  But for ease, and for a more even texture I have adopted a more modern method.  That is loosely wrapping the roly poly in parchment paper and then aluminium foil and baking in the over, over a pan of water that creates the steam needed.

This roly poly is traditionally served with custard, and at school it would be made with custard powder and milk with a little sugar.  So that is what I did for my custard, rather than making a rich vanilla infused egg and milk custard.

The recipe for the roly poly is very simple and takes very little time to make, though it then has to bake for 1 hour 45 minutes(though I have seen several recipes that bake for less time, but I would not risk that in case the centre was a stodgy mess).

Mine turned out very well, though I rolled the dough out thinner than I wanted, resulting in a slightly smaller roll in terms of height, but that was fine it baked perfectly and tasted so good.

Traditionally the suet used would be beef suet but these days you can also buy vegetarian suet that looks and works the same, so it is a matter of personal choice.

Jam Roly Poly – School Dinner Memories
   Jam Roly Poly – Video


  • 175g(1 cup + 3 tbsp) self raising flour
  • 25g(2 tbsp) caster sugar
  • 100g(3/4 cup) suet
  • 75ml(5 tbsp) cold milk
  • 125g(4 tbsp) strawberry jam(or raspberry or any other type of jam)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F.
  2. Boil some water and have a large rectangular pan that can take the water when needed.
  3. Prepare a sheet of parchment paper, and one of aluminium foil about 30cm x 40cm(12 x 16 in).
  4. Place the flour, sugar and suet into a large bowl.
  5. Stir round to mix together.
  6. Add the milk and stir together until you have a stodgy dough( I actually added a teaspoon more milk as the mixture seemed a little dry, that is due to how the flour reacts with the liquid).
  7. On a lightly floured work surface roll the dough out to a rectangle 20cmx28cm(8 in x 11in).
  8. Spread the jam over the surface of the dough, leaving a border all around clear of jam(1/2 to 1 inch).
  9. Fold one short edge over onto the jam and then gently roll into a log.
  10. Place the log, seam side underweath, onto a sheet of parchment paper which is already resting on aluminium foil.
  11. Fold the paper over the log, loosely, leaving room for the dough to rise slightly.
  12. Fold and seal the aluminium foil too, crimping the ends as well.
  13. Place the wrapped roly poly directly onto the rack in the oven.
  14. Place the pan below it and pour in the boiling water, to a level of about 1 inch.
  15. Bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  16. Remove from the oven and leave for 5 minutes before opening the foil and paper to reveal the roly poly.
  17. Serve with custard(or cream/ice cream  if you wish)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *