Sunday, April 13, 2014

Chocolate & Dark Cherry Jam Roly Poly

Chocolate & Dark Cherry Jam Roly Poly 4

I've told you a bit before about the wonderful Indian family lunches we used to have at my grandparents' home when I was a kid, which may have had you wondering a little, since you can probably tell from my photo that I'm not Indian.  You see, my grandparents (and my mother), although of British descent were all born in India, and like many other Brits living in India at the time they chose to leave at the time of Partition.  Knowing that, when they arrived in New Zealand, they would have no servants here, my grandmother (who most likely had never boiled an egg in her life up to that point) called upon her cook to teach her how to ... well, cook!  Needless to say the cook taught her how to make a variety of Indian dishes which formed the basis of my grandmother's culinary repertoire.  This clearly sparked something in her, for she continued ever after to explore and experiment with different dishes, but in the end not many dishes escaped getting a bit of her "curry" treatment.  I can recall even wiener schnitzels which received a smear of curry paste either side before getting their egg and breadcrumb coating!

My mother, on the other hand, who was also a good cook and could equally whip up a great curry, tended to be a little more "Kiwi-fied" in her general culinary approach.  Like most other Kiwi households in the 60s and 70s, we largely lived on a diet of British classics - meat and three veg most nights of the week, and always dessert to follow.  Steak & kidney pie, fish & chips, scotch eggs, bangers & mash, jam roly poly, scones and trifle (at Christmas) were all regular fare in our household.

So, I certainly felt a flood of nostalgia when faced with our I Heart Cooking Clubs theme this week of "Fit for a Brit".  We continue to cook with Nigel Slater, who has so many interesting takes on classic British dishes that I had a hard time choosing what to make, but after leafing through my copy of Tender Vol. II (in the US this is published as Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard), it was Nigel's "Black jam roly-poly pudding" that rekindled a lot of memories.

Traditionally a roly poly pudding is usually steamed - in fact, it was often steamed in an old shirt sleeve, so that it was also sometimes called "shirt-sleeve pudding" or "dead-man's arm".  You've got to hand it to the Brits, don't you - they really do have great names for some of their dishes.  Care for some "toad in the hole"?  "Spotted dick" anyone?  (Sorry, couldn't resist).  Anyway, back to the roly poly.  As I was saying, it was traditionally steamed, but Nigel says he prefers his baked, and certainly any roly poly I remember from my childhood was baked.  As Nigel says, "Yes, the jam leaks a little ...", and indeed it does, but I kind of like the oozey bit of jam that escapes and creates a bit of stickiness around the edges and on the bottom.  No matter whether this is steamed or baked, however, you want a really good, well flavoured jam here, and a rich, dark coloured one is best.  Nigel suggests damson, blackcurrant, loganberry or elderberry.  I'm pretty sure the roly poly of my childhood would usually have been made with homemade plum jam, or possibly blackcurrant.  On this occasion I used a St Dalfour's black cherry.

While on the subject of tradition, I should also tell you that this dessert is normally made with a suet crust.  Suet is raw beef or mutton fat - usually the hard fat found around the kidneys - which needs to be grated or shredded before use (you can usually get your butcher to do this for you), and which like meat needs to be kept refrigerated and will keep only for a few days.  You can also buy packaged suet (Shreddo in New Zealand), which has been dehydrated and mixed with flour to make it stable at room temperature.  Obviously then you need to take some care if substituting packaged suet for fresh suet, because the fat to flour ratio will be different.  It's not clear from Nigel's recipe whether he uses fresh or packaged suet, but I imagine from the flour to fat ratio of roughly 2:1 that he uses fresh.  Either way, I couldn't find suet at my supermarket (and given the small quantity required, I probably wouldn't have bought it anyway), so I substituted with butter.  I'm not sure in what way a suet crust would have been any different, or maybe better, but I can safely say that a butter crust worked just fine.  You end up with a dough which is something like a soft scone dough, but which crisps up a bit on the outside like a soft cookie when baked.

In one final departure from the original recipe, I added a pile of roughly chopped dark chocolate to the filling because ... well, just because!  And, really, what's not to love about a buttery crust filled with jammy cherries and chunky chocolate.

Chocolate & Dark Cherry Jam Roly Poly 3

Chocolate & Dark Cherry Jam Roly Poly Recipe
Adapted from recipe by Nigel Slater
from Tender Vol. II
Serves 4
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe

175g (6 oz) self raising flour
85g (3 oz) very cold butter, grated
1 tablespoon caster sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
160 ml (5-1/2 fl oz) cold water
70g dark chocolate, roughly chopped or grated
250g (9 oz) dark cherry jam (or other dark red jam)

Preheat oven to 220 degrees C (430 degrees F).

Sift flour into a medium sized mixing bowl.  Add the grated butter and sugar, and add the water to make a soft dough - add more water or flour as necessary to achieve a dough which is not too sticky and can be rolled out without sticking to the rolling pin.

Tip out onto a well floured bench, and roll into a 30cm x 20cm (12" x 8") rectangle.  Spread jam over the dough, leaving approximately 2cm (3/4") clear on one long edge.  Sprinkle chocolate over the top of the jam.

Chocolate & Dark Cherry Jam Roly Poly 1

Brush the long clean edge of the dough with a little water, then roll up into a long sausage and press the wet edge firmly to seal.

Lift the roll onto a parchment lined baking sheet .  Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes or until golden.  (Note the dough is very soft - don't be alarmed if it splits in places and flattens out - this is part of its rustic charm and, as Nigel says, "it is what it is".)

Chocolate & Dark Cherry Jam Roly Poly 2

Cut into thick slices to serve.  A dollop of good vanilla ice cream is a great accompaniment, as is a generous drizzle of runny cream or custard.

If you would like to get to know Nigel Slater a little better, and to see what everyone else has cooked up this week, then do go and visit my friends at I Heart Cooking Clubs and check out the links ...


... or check out Tender, Vol. II and Nigel's many other great titles available from Amazon USA, Amazon UK, or Fishpond NZ.

I will also be submitting this post to Sweet New Zealand.  Inspired by Alessandra Zecchini, and hosted this month by Marnelli at Sweets & Brains, Sweet New Zealand is an event for all Kiwi bloggers (whether living at home or abroad), or all foreign bloggers living in New Zealand, to link up their sweet treats.

Sweet New Zealand Badge A


I'll also be sharing this post this week at See Ya In the Gumbo hosted by the delightful Michelle at Ms. enPlace, at Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads, at Foodie Fridays hosted by Designs by Gollum, and at Cook Your Books hosted by the lovely Joyce at Kitchen Flavours.

See Ya in The Gumbo Badge           Weekend Cooking Badge           Foodie Friday Badge           Cook Your Books Badge

47 comments:

  1. Arghhh! I wasn't going to bake this week ... but, but, but this looks so good and so easy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very easy, Beth, and we can all do with an excuse to do a little baking , can't we :-)

      Delete
  2. That looks fantastic! I've heard of the other British dishes you mentioned but never a roly poly. The chocolate-cherry filling sounds divine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Zosia - I think a lot of people who've never encountered it before think that a roly poly is the same as a Swiss roll, but as you can see it's a different animal altogether. Chocolate & cherry is a great combo - interestingly though, when it was hot the cherry was the slightly more dominant flavour, but when it was cold the chocolate was more dominant. Either way it was great.

      Delete
  3. I love the stodginess of a steamed rolypoly, but this looks lovely! I also love the idea of smearing schnitzel with curry paste before crumbing it. Your grandmother was very clever to have prepared herself like that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We had plenty of steamed puddings in our house, but funnily enough never a steamed roly poly. I've got to say that Nana's "curried" schnitzels were incredibly delicious - she often gave the odd lamb chop the same treatment.

      Delete
  4. o dear God...look at that filling!! I am in love with this roly poply.
    Do you think I can replace the butter with coconut oil?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great question, Angie. In fact when I was making it, I toyed with the idea of using coconut oil as the fat, before finally deciding on butter. I think if I was to use coconut oil, I would measure out the quantity needed, and then chill either in the fridge or freezer until quite solid, then grate it. Definitely worth a try I think.

      Delete
  5. I love the name roly poly for a dessert! And dark chocolate and cherry is such a great combination.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Roly poly is a great name for a dessert, isn't it? Tragically, it is also what you might become if you eat it too often :-)

      Delete
  6. Roly poly sounds so funny! The desserts looks delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yum! Cherries and chocolate are such a perfect combo. I love that photo of the unbaked roly poly--the filling looks so luscious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Rebecca - you're right, cherries and chocolate are a great combo, and also something about that combo which seems very decadent and luxurious.

      Delete
  8. I love everything about this post, Sue. I enjoyed reading about your family and all the wonderful names of British dishes. I know if I had my hands on this dessert, I would definitely become roly poly!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Michelle. It's nice to share those memories - I think I was very lucky to have had such a great culinary influence in my life very early on. Whilst eating this dessert every week might be a little dangerous, every now and then shared with the family I think you'd be safe.

      Delete
    2. Thank you for linking this week!

      Delete
  9. What a great family story! I also think you've done a terrific job of making the recipe your own ... mmm. Chocolate and cherries!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Susan. I just can never leave well enough alone when it comes to recipes, but that's one of the things I love about Nigel Slater's food - his recipes really are just a springboard to experimenting with a variety of flavours.

      Delete
  10. Such an interesting family you have; and that roly-poly looks amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  11. fun to learn about your grandparents and New Zealand food culture and love this can I have mine with custard

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Rebecca. Actually, it's so interesting to really explore New Zealand food culture, from its very British roots, to the hugely multi-cultural influences of Asia and the Pacific which have impacted to create the NZ cuisine of today.

      Delete
  12. Wish I'd known about your heritage when I was grappling with an essay on curry and how it moved from India to the UK and back again. This looks so tempting but I gave up eating roly poly when I started to look like one :o)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would have been a fascinating study, Julie - it always makes me smile when I think of Chicken Tikka Masala being a classic British dish - you pretty much won't find it anywhere in India.

      Delete
  13. What a wonderful post, full of memories and traditions. Love the name of this roly poly, that's enough to pique someone's interest right there. Beautiful pics! Well done!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Cheri, for your kindness. Roly poly, like so many other British dishes, is a great name for a dessert, isn't it :-) I also love that this was once called shirt sleeve pudding or dead man's arm!

      Delete
  14. oh , this does sound good. I enjoyed reading your post, we all learn from our families when it comes to cooking, but I have found that my siblings and I now all cook so differently from each other with a few items in common.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right, Heather, we learn a great deal from our families about cooking and a shared culinary history is something very special. My brother and I both share a love of making Indian dishes, and more recently we've both enjoyed exploring Middle Eastern food.

      Delete
  15. Honestly, I've never tasted roly poly before although I've heard of it umpteen times. It's only till now that I know how a roly poly looks like. This is interesting and I reckon it's best eaten warm? Definitely comfort food :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Grace, I'm so thrilled to have introduced you to something new. Yes, I would say it's best warm, but it's actually still incredibly delicious cold, even a couple of days later ... if it lasts that long!

      Delete
  16. Such a fascinating culinary history you have Sue--I loved reading this post. Although I have never eaten a roly poly before, (I've read about it--maybe in Slater's 'Eating for England?") I think your version sounds much more fun and yummy than the steamed original. Of course the dark chocolate never hurts does it? ;-) Fabulous!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Deb. Eating for England sounds like a book I really need to get my hands on - another one to add to the wish list! I imagine the steamed version is very different - maybe a bit more like a steamed pudding, or kind of like the crust you get on a steak and kidney pudding that is made with a suet crust. Baking it you end up with a crust that is not quite pastry like - actually, something that is a bit like a cross between a scone, a soft biscuit, and a pastry. You're totally right - dark chocolate makes everything better :-)

      Delete
  17. Hi Sue,
    Such an interesting family history on what's cooking in the kitchen. Love stories like this.
    The jam roly poly looks wonderful and like your addition of chopped choc to the filling, naughty but nice! :)
    And the Brit really has some catchy names for their food, which is charming and really classic!
    Thanks for sharing this with CYB!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joyce, thank you so much. Yes, the Brits do have some great names for their food, and despite my advancing years, I still can't say "Spotted Dick" without sniggering like a teenage boy :-)

      Delete
  18. Jam roly poly is an adorable name for a dessert! And I loved reading about your interesting family history.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Beth, and thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  19. I am so pleased to have discovered your wonderful blog and we have so much in common too! I also remember curry (Indian) lunches when I was growing up in Hong Kong and South Africa and they are an essential part of my culinary memories!
    I love this jam roly poly and I bet it was even better with chocolate and dark cherry jam too.....simply sublime!
    Karen (Lavender and Lovage) :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karen, thank you so much for such a lovely and incredibly kind comment. Wow, growing up in Hong Kong and South Africa must have had a huge influence on your culinary repertoire. Funny how to this day I always enjoy Indian food so much more in the middle of the day than in the evening, because we always had it at lunchtime when we were kids. Thanks for visiting and I'm looking forward to discovering your blog.

      Delete
  20. Chocolate and cherry encased in pastry... Hmmm... Can this get any better? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Erika - no, when you put it like that, it really doesn't get any better :-)

      Delete
  21. Wow! This looks amazinly appetizing ! Love it , thanks for sharing this delicious recipe ;)

    ReplyDelete
  22. I have a feeling my entire family would LOVE this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Any chocolate lover certainly would :-) Thanks for stopping by, Pam.

      Delete
  23. This looks gorgeous, Sue! I was interested to learn more about your family history too!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. I love hearing from you and your comments are like gold to me. Your comment will be visible as soon as it has been approved.