Queen of Puddings

Queen of Puddings-7794I have a vintage and very British pudding for you today! It’s a great recipe to use up stale bread and will certainly solicit curiosity in your friends.

I learnt how to make it as a child, my mum was a rather pudding orientated person and although we mostly ended our meals with a home-made pie, other desserts would occasionally be served.

In a world before sliced bread, a profusion of recipes were created to use up dry, stale bread, many of which are puddings or desserts. This is frugal food at its foundations, turning inedible dry bread into something moreish and filling.

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Queen of Puddings is a nostalgic bake, the stale bread is turned into a custardy base for jam and fluffy meringue. The bread gives this dessert a distinctive flavour, think bread sauce from Christmas dinner, stronger French style bread will add more flavour than a simple white loaf.

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I’ve never really made this dessert with a recipe, simply adding the ingredients by eye in a very laissez-faire way. For this post I made a couple, measuring the ingredients out first and noting it down.

You can blitz the old bread in a food processor to make breadcrumbs or you can simply tear it up into small pieces, this is my usual method, often I don’t have access to a processor and I’ve found once the bread has soaked and baked, the bready egg custard is smooth regardless.

I made these puddings while staying at my brothers, we unfortunately lost our mother a couple of weeks ago and had lots of bread left over from a buffet we had after her funeral. I like to think she would love me using up the bread in this way, creating a nurturing dessert to share with the world.

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Queen of Puddings

Oven 170 C / gas 3 / 325 F

a ceramic or Pyrex pie dish, buttered

For the bread custard

  • 75 g {2 packed cups} torn up stale bread or breadcrumbs {1 cup}
  • 450 ml {2 cups} milk
  • 50 g {1/3 cup} caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 free-range egg yolks

For the topping:

  • raspberry or strawberry jam
  • 2 free-range egg whites
  • 40 g {1/4 cup} caster sugar plus 1 tbsp

Place the torn up bread or breadcrumbs into a bowl and pour the milk over it. Place it into a microwave and gently heat on high for a minute or two until warm. Alternatively, heat the milk in a saucepan first then pour over the bread. Set aside for the milk to soak into the milk for around 15 minutes or so.

Add the egg yolks, the 50 g of sugar and the vanilla extract and mix well.

Transfer this into the greased pie dish and bake for around 25 to 30 minutes. It should have puffed up a bit and feel set with a very slight wobble.

Remove from the oven and spread the surface with a fairly thin layer of jam.

Turn the oven up to 180 C / gas 4 / 350 F

Place the egg whites into a spotlessly clean glass or metal bowl and beat with a hand mixer to stiff peaks, add the 40 g of caster sugar a spoonful at a time then continue beating until the meringue turns glossy and you can’t feel the sugar grains when rubbed between your fingertips.

Spoon over the jam gently spread it right to the edges to seal. Use the back of the spoon to create peaks then sprinkle with the extra tablespoon of caster sugar.

Bake for around 15 to 20 minutes for the meringue to brown on top.

Allow to cool a little before serving.

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It is best served warm but I do like the left-overs cold from the fridge. It is certainly an adaptable recipe, you could add sultanas to the bread custard base, use any kind of jam or conserve and I’m even thinking of creating a chocolate version. Fresh or stewed fruit would also be excellent.

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Queen of Puddings
A very British Pudding of bread custard, jam and meringue. Great for using up stale bread.
Print
Ingredients
  1. For the bread custard
  2. 75 g {2 packed cups} torn up stale bread or breadcrumbs {1 cup}
  3. 450 ml {2 cups} milk
  4. 50 g {1/3 cup} caster sugar
  5. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  6. 2 egg yolks
For the topping
  1. raspberry or strawberry jam
  2. 2 egg whites
  3. 40 g {1/4 cup} caster sugar plus 1 tbsp
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 170 C / gas 3 / 325 F butter a ceramic or pyrex pie dish
  2. Place the torn up bread or breadcrumbs into a bowl and pour the milk over it. Place it into a microwave and gently heat on high for a minute or two until warm. Alternatively, heat the milk in a saucepan first then pour over the bread. Set aside for the milk to soak into the milk for around 15 minutes or so.
  3. Add the egg yolks, the 50 g of sugar and the vanilla extract and mix well.
  4. Transfer this into the greased pie dish and bake for around 25 to 30 minutes. It should have puffed up a bit and feel set with a very slight wobble.
  5. Remove from the oven and spread the surface with a fairly thin layer of jam.
  6. Turn the oven up to 180 C / gas 4 / 350 F
  7. Place the egg whites into a spotlessly clean glass or metal bowl and beat with a hand mixer to stiff peaks, add the 40 g of caster sugar a spoonful at a time then continue beating until the meringue turns glossy and you can’t feel the sugar grains when rubbed between your fingertips.
  8. Spoon over the jam gently spread it right to the edges to seal. Use the back of the spoon to create peaks then sprinkle with the extra tablespoon of caster sugar.
  9. Bake for around 15 to 20 minutes for the meringue to brown on top.
  10. Allow to cool a little before serving
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By Rachel Davis

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