A Roly-Poly is a dessert.
To make a Roly-Poly, a pastry, usually suet-based, is rolled out in rectangular shape. Jam, golden syrup or fruit is then spread generously out on top of it.
Then it is rolled up, filling side in, so that the ends look like pinwheels, and bound up in muslin or cheesecloth.
The pudding is then steamed, baked or boiled. It is usually served hot with custard.
The ends get browned nicely. They are called the “bums” and children fight over them.
New versions, claiming to be lighter, use butter instead of suet. Purists insist that quality suet still makes the lightest.
Granny’s Leg Pudding
A Roly-Poly variant which adds currants.
Literature & Lore
All in a minute she rushed upon Tom Kitten, and before he knew what was happening —
His coat was pulled off, and he was rolled up in a bundle, and tied with string in very hard knots.
Anna Maria did the tying. The old rat watched her and took snuff. When she had finished, they both sat staring at him with their mouths open.
“Anna Maria,” said the old man rat (whose name was Samuel Whiskers),– “Anna Maria, make me a kitten dumpling roly-poly pudding for my dinner.”
“It requires dough and a pat of butter, and a rolling-pin,” said Anna Maria, considering Tom Kitten with her head on one side.
“No,” said Samuel Whiskers, “make it properly, Anna Maria, with breadcrumbs.”
“Nonsense! Butter and dough,” replied Anna Maria.
From The Roly-Poly Pudding (The Tales Of Samuel Whiskers) by Beatrix Potter. 1908
Was also called a “Duff”.
Prince, Rose. Jam roly poly recipe. London: Daily Telegraph. 1 January 2009.