Many moons ago, for reasons I can't quite remember, my next door neighbour Oliver asked (using the word loosely here) if I could make him a treacle roly poly. I said I would and then got round to it about 3 months later. I have been rather busy but also I was putting it off because I'd never made one before and was slightly terrified at the prospect of it.
Also, there are very few recipes out there for treacle roly poly; there are loads for jam ones and I wasn't sure whether I could substitute treacle for jam and just proceed in the same way.
I decided I could and went with this recipe from the trusty ol' BBC Good Food website.
It turns out this was quite a good thing for me to practice: not only have I never made suet pastry but I have also never rolled or steamed anything so I was experiencing a few new things here.
So the suet pastry - what a weird thing. I felt so wartime getting involved with it. Being a veggie, I opted to get the vegetarian suet because, even though I wasn't going to be eating any of it, I just couldn't get my head round the beef fat issue. It's gross. It's similar to how I now feel about gelatin (after previously being able to devour a bag of Haribo Fangtastics in one sitting.)
The actual putting together of the pastry went quite well but I was a bit unsure of how it should have looked; it was bit lumpy. After a bit of Googling I found out that suet has quite a high melting point and that those little lumps would only disappear during baking. Phew.
Next issue: rolling the pastry. Good Food suggest that you leave a gap at one end of your pastry so you can roll it up and seal it. Well I did that but I think I started rolling from the wrong end. I rolled from the gap end which meant that all the treacle I had blobbed in the middle squeezed right over to the other side and I was left with a very oozy meeting point. TREACLE EVERYWHERE!! That stuff is sticky. But I carried on and got it on to my greaseproof/foil blanket and managed to get it in the oven.
The steaming: oh my gosh, how exciting! I had to put a roasting tin full of boiling water on the lowest shelf and place my wrapped poly on the shelf above. This was a frightening experience and something I had to put a lot of trust in; I am so used to being able to tell by sight whether a cake is done or not that the foil armour on the pudding scared me a little. I basically baked it for the hour that was suggested and then another ten minutes just in case. I also don't know whether it should have risen a bit more. It doesn't look so appetising in the below pictures.
I should have tasted it really - it was definitely cooked but who knows whether it was too dry or a bit soggy. But I got no feedback on that front from the 3 boys who inhaled it but no one died so I think it was fine.
The verdict? According to Oliver it needed a load more treacle. I thought I'd put in loads but maybe it had seeped out because I didn't get my roll right. I also thought that maybe treacle sinks into the pastry more than jam does so some of it may have been lost that way. I'll just go crazy next time.
But other than that it went down well and tasted liked it should. But what wouldn't taste good fresh out of the oven and smothered in custard?
As well as being a first for suet pudding, this post is going to be my first entry into Calendar Cakes as hosted by Laura Loves Cake & Dollybakes. Hurrah! This month's challenge is 'Puddings' so I think this fits the brief nicely.
Do head on over to Laura's blog to see what other yummy puddings some talented bakers have been whipping up this month.