Queen of puddings

Queen of puddings: a retro classic. Photograph: Getty
Serves: 4
Course: Dessert


  • 250ml milk
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 50g butter
  • 50g caster sugar for the bread mixture
  • Pinch salt
  • 150g bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 150ml raspberry (or blackcurrant) jam
  • 100g caster sugar for the meringue

1 Bring the milk and lemon zest to a simmer in a heavy-based saucepan. Remove from the heat just before the mixture boils, so the milk doesn't get a scorched flavour.

2 Add the butter and 50g of sugar, plus a pinch of salt, and stir until dissolved. Add the bread crumbs to the saucepan of milk (or use a large bowl to combine them), stir well and set aside to cool.

3 Separate the eggs into yolks and whites. Stir the yolks into the bread mixture and spoon into a well-greased round heatproof dish.

4 Bake in an oven preheated to 170 Celsius for 30 minutes, until slightly risen and firm.

5 Warm the jam slightly, to make it easier to work with, and spread it over the surface.

6 Using an electric hand whisk, whisk the eggs whites in a very clean bowl until they form soft peaks. Gradually add the remaining 100g of sugar and continue to whisk until glossy and forming stiff peaks. Cover the jam evenly with the meringue mixture. To create soft whirls, draw the meringue upwards with the back of a dessert spoon or by gently pressing the top with the tip of the whisk.

7 Return to the oven to bake for a final 30 minutes, until the meringue is golden. If necessary, turn the oven up to 180 Celsius for the final 10 minutes. Serve straight from the oven or slightly warm.

In the summer, when juicy ripe berries are abundant, you can make this pudding even more luscious. Simmer 250g of fresh berries in the warmed jam for five minutes to give a delicious compote to use as the middle layer.