When I was a little girl, my family would travel to Adelaide to visit my Mother’s parents for a holiday. I have the most wonderful memories from my trips to this beautiful part of the world, it really is very special to me and as I have grown older I have come to appreciate it more and more. The city has a wonderful relaxed charm to it (much like Perth does), that is somewhere between familiar country town and bigger city living – whatever it is, I love it. It always feels like home when I visit.
As a treat, my Grandma would bake this wonderful dessert for us – from scratch of course – and I would practically squeal with delight when I saw green apples on the counter, because I knew what was coming after dinner. Even now, I can recall the smell of the baking Roly Poly drifting tantalizingly through her house…and ever impatient, I would watch the oven until dessert was ready.
So it won’t come as a surprise that every year on my birthday I pick a really nostalgic dessert from my childhood – my Mum lets us pick whatever we want – and my choices are always the same. This year, unsurprisingly, I asked for her Mother’s Apple Roly Poly and it was just as wonderful as I remember. The slightly crispy dough on top then turns wonderfully soft and almost pudding-like as your spoon dives eagerly downwards, deeper into the sweet apple below…pure perfection.
It’s by no means a fancy dessert, rather a homely one, completely unpretentious, honest and warming. But, most importantly for me, it makes me remember the wonderful evenings spent around my Grandma’s dining table with my family – and that’s pretty special.
Also – this mixture has a bit of ‘feel’ need for it – i.e. if the dough looks too wet, add more flour. Too dry – add more milk. Just use your instincts, you will be fine, I promise.
2 cups SR flour
Pinch of salt
1 – 1½ cups of milk
3 large Granny Smith apples (or 6 smaller sized), peeled and grated (reserve the juices)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
For the syrup
1 Tbs golden syrup (or honey)
½ cup raw sugar
1 cup hot water
1 Tbs butter
Pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Rub butter into SR flour and salt until combined, it will go slightly crumbly. You can use a bench-top mixer to do this with the dough-hook attachment.
- Slowly add milk (roughly 1 – 1½ cups) until a stiff dough forms. Pour out onto a flour dusted bench-top and knead dough until smooth.
- Roll out dough fairly thinly (but not so thin that it rips) and cover with grated apple. Sprinkle to taste with cinnamon (you can omit if you prefer).
- Roll up the pastry so that it looks like a long sausage and cut into thick slices (roughly 6cm). Place slices cut-side up, into an oven-proof baking dish deep enough so that the Roly Poly slices are not higher than the dish.
- Mix together all of the syrup mixture ingredients (including any juice from grating the apples) and pour over the Roly Poly.
- Bake in oven for 30 – 40 minutes or until the Roly Poly is golden on top. Serve hot with ice-cream, cream or custard.