The English are known for their delicious puddings and their pudding cakes. I recently came across one called Queen’s Pudding, which consists of a baked custard that is topped with raspberry jam and meringue. I would consider this more of a bread pudding and not a custard in the traditional sense, because in most cases it is made with leftover bread rolls like these that are finely processed into fresh bread crumbs…
Other recipes I discovered use left over cake crumbs. This dessert reminded me very much of the recipe I used when I made my Brazilian bread pudding, called Pudim de Pao. The process was very much the same in making the custard, except that the recipes I found online for the Queen’s pudding only used a little milk, along with some butter and egg yolks. I made the recipe according to the recipes I found, but thought that the pudding was just too dense. Since the recipe was so similar to the Brazilian bread pudding, I used that recipe but modified it slightly by adding some whole eggs and some yolks. The resulting texture was perfectly creamy and delicious — exactly what you would want this type of comfort food to taste like, and the best part of all was that it baked up quickly with no fuss.
The great thing about this dessert is that it doesn’t require any fancy ingredients. You bake the pudding and when it comes out of the oven, you pour on some thick raspberry (or strawberry) jam (or sauce) and then top the whole thing with meringue.
One thing to remember when making this…
When making the meringue for this type of dessert, all of the recipes I came across used a French meringue. A French meringue is made with egg whites that are whipped with granulated sugar until glossy. This is not only an incorrect use of this type of meringue, but it can also be dangerous to consume because you are essentially eating raw egg whites. French meringue should only be used when you want to create a light and fluffy cake with lots of air, like a chiffon cake. This is the only time that French meringue should be used, and if it is used to top this type of dessert or pies, it will weep and make for a very soggy dessert.
For this type of dessert, you need to use an Italian meringue – this is not only safer, but much more stable meringue. It is safer to eat because you cook syrup to softball stage and pour it into egg whites that are being whipped in a bowl on a tabletop mixer or with a good, strong hand mixer. It may sound complicated, but it really isn’t — and you will be much more pleased with the results.
Queen’s Pudding (8” soufflé dish)
2 whole eggs
2 yolks (reserve the whites)
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ cup milk
1 ½ cup cream
3 cups fresh bread crumbs (4- 2oz rolls), about 8oz
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup raspberry or strawberry jam or cooked fruit sauce
chocolate cream **optional
½ recipe Italian meringue (recipe you will need appears below, click link for directions)
Slice the bread rolls into pieces and put them in your food processor until finely ground. Leave them in your food processor, because you will add the liquid to this and process them again. Place the eggs, yolks, sugar, vanilla, milk and cream in a medium sized bowl and whisk until everything is well combined. Place all of the liquid into a container with a spout to make it easier to pour into your food processor, but don’t put the bowl in the sink quite yet. Start up the food processor again, and start to slowly pour the liquid into the bread crumbs. Your food processor may not have room for all of the liquid, but that’s OK. Add as much liquid as possible, then empty it all out into your reserved bowl and add in any remaining liquid.
Mix together and pour into a greased baking dish. Bake at 350° for about 20-30 minutes until custard has set and then remove it from the oven. The custard will not rise, and will only be a few inches high at the base of the soufflé dish, but don’t worry – this will get higher when add the jam and the meringue!
If you are using the chocolate cream, pour on the chocolate cream and coat the whole surface of the custard while still warm…
¼ cup cream
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon dark chocolate chips
Heat the cream in the microwave until hot and add the chocolate chips, then stir until they have melted. If you need a little more cream, add one teaspoon at a time until you have a smooth consistency. This should not be too thin, but the consistency of a milkshake.
Then spoon the jam over the chocolate by dotting the surface…
Next prepare the Italian meringue according to the instructions on the link provided. Once the meringue is cool, use a plastic spatula and cover the whole surface of the custard with the meringue. If you have a flaming torch, you can flame the meringue and dust with powdered sugar before serving. If you do not have a torch and would like to have the same effect, pre-heat your oven on the broil setting (about 400°F). Place a rack directly under the broiler allowing enough room for the dish. Make sure that the meringue does not touch the broiler. Allow the surface of the meringue to become a golden brown color. Keep an eye on it, because at this temperature, it will take on color very quickly, about 5-10 minutes. Serve warm.
2 egg whites
1 ½ oz corn syrup (about 2 tablespoons)
3 oz granulated sugar (slightly less than ½ cup)
3 tablespoons water
**Follow the directions on how to make Italian meringue here