Queen of Puddings is old-fashioned favourite: smooth set creamy custard is flavoured with orange zest, spread with melted jam, and topped with meringue. This is a traditional British dessert, and similar recipes are called Monmouth Pudding and Manchester Pudding. A Monmouth Pudding is said to consist of layers of meringue, jam or seasonal fruit and bread soaked in milk, whilst Manchester Pudding is similar but contains egg yolks (but some have speculated that this name was just a synonym for the Queen of Puddings). As befits such a treat, it is a little more technical than most of the recipes to date, but there is nothing here that requires great skill. It is simply a question of following the steps carefully to produce a brilliantly showy pudding. Queen of Puddings is so worthy of its name, a pudding filled with lovely ingredients and crowned with a layer of soft chewy meringue.
4 egg yolks
600 ml milk
30 g butter, plus extra for greasing
60 g caster sugar
grated zest of 1 orange
90 g fresh white breadcrumbs
3 tbsp strawberry or raspberry jam
4 egg whites
175 g caster sugar
1.25 l shallow ovenproof dish
In a large bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks. Set aside. Heat the milk in a small saucepan until bubbles appear around the edge. Add the butter, sugar and orange zest, and heat gently until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved.
Lightly butter the ovenproof dish and set aside. Gradually add the hot milk mixture to the egg yolks, whisking all the time. Stir in the breadcrumbs, then pour into the ovenproof dish. Leave to stand for 15 minutes.
Bake the pudding in a preheated oven at 180°C for about 30 minutes or until just set. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Warm the jam in a small saucepan until melted. Spread the warmed jam evenly over the surface of the pudding.
Make the meringue topping: whisk the egg whites until stiff but not dry.With an electric mixer, whisk in the caster sugar, i tsp at the time, keeping the mixer at full speed.
Spoon the meringue on top of the pudding, spreading it to the edge and pulling it up to form peaks. Return the pudding to the oven and bake for a further 10 – 15 minutes until the top of the meringue is crisp and golden brown. Serve at once.