Currently, I get the feeling that everyone I meet can only think of how to stave off the enormous bills to come – so instead of thinking happy thoughts about what I am going to buy to eat, I peer anxiously into the fridge to see what I can make of left-overs. And when I found milk, bread and eggs, plus some scrapings in the bottom of jam jars – I remembered …..
Queen of puddings (for 3 – 4)
The recipe is very forgiving, so as long as you use the basic ingredients, you can vary quantities to what you have.. the meringue topping disguised a multitude of sins and looked sumptuous!
Tip: you don’t have to make breadcrumbs; I soak the bread in the milk (crusts removed) for 1/2 hour, then mash the mixture up with a fork.
My recipe was very hit-and-miss, so I have used Mary Berry’s one as being the best example.
- 1 pint milk (full fat works best – or add a tablespoon of cream to skimmed milk)
- 25g/1oz butter, plus extra for greasing the dish
- 1 unwaxed lemon, zest finely grated
- 50g/2oz caster sugar
- 3 free-range egg yolks (use egg whites for topping)
- 75g/3oz fresh white breadcrumbs
For the topping
- 175g/6oz caster sugar
- 3 free-range egg whites
- jam (Mary makes her own (of course!) but I used scrapings out of the bottom of jam jars (raspberry and strawberry work best)
Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3 and grease with butter a 1.4 litre/2½ pint shallow ovenproof dish (one that will fit into a roasting tin)
For the base, make a custard by gently warming the milk in a small saucepan. Add the butter, lemon zest, and 50g/2oz of sugar, and stir until dissolved.
Lightly whisk the egg yolks in a bowl. Slowly pour the warm milk into the eggs, while whisking.
Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the base of the buttered dish and pour over the custard. Leave to stand for about 15 minutes, so the breadcrumbs absorb the liquid. (If I can’t grate the bread for crumbs, tear bread into small chunks, pour over the liquid, and leave to stand for 30 mins. then mash up.
Carefully transfer the dish to a roasting tin and fill the tin halfway with water. Bake the mixture in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes until the custard has set. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool a little.
Meanwhile, spread enough jam to cover the custard mixture, in a pan with a sprinkling of water and warm over gentle heat. Once softened spread carefully over the custard base.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed. Add the remaining 175g/6oz sugar a tablespoon at a time, still whisking on maximum speed until the mixture is stiff and shiny. Transfer the meringue and spread over top.
Lower the oven temperature to 150C/130C Fan/Gas 2 and return the pudding to the oven (not in the roasting tin with water) for about 25-30 minutes until the meringue is pale golden all over and crisp.
Serve at once with pouring cream.