Queen of Puddings is a baked custard of eggs, milk, butter, sugar and breadcrumbs, spread with jam and topped with toasted meringue. A traditional British dessert, it was adopted by Irish cooks many years ago, probably because it is a luxurious treat made with the most inexpensive ingredients.
I love how generations past didn’t need fancy spices, herbs and rare ingredients to create delicious delicacies. The name “Queen of Puddings” implies a most decadent sweet, with no hint it is made with everyday kitchen staples, and a perfect way to use up stale bread.
Today’s recipe includes step-by-step instructions for this retro pudding of custard and jam topped with soft, chewy meringue. This is a true retro dessert, and one of my all-time favorites from my childhood.
Ingredients for Queen of Puddings:
Here’s a list of the ingredients required. You’ll find exact amounts in the printable recipe below the instruction section. There you can choose between US and Metric equivalents for the measurement system that works best for you.
- egg yolks
- full fat milk
- lemon zest
- raspberry jelly or jam
- egg whites
- pinch salt
Directions for Queen of Puddings:
Here you’ll find step-by-step photographic instructions for making a delicious Queen of Puddings the traditional way.
Start by separating 3 of the egg yolks and whites. Set the egg whites aside. They’ll be used for the meringue topping.
No leftover egg whites or yolks with this recipe. The yolks are used in the base and the whites are needed for the meringue topping. Just perfect!
Next step is to make the custard base. Add the milk, sugar, butter and grated lemon peel to a saucepan. Gently heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Use whole milk. The extra fat enhances the custard.
Not all Queen of Puddings recipes call for the milk to be heated. I find this step helps to ensure the sugar is fully dissolved and the lemon flavor is evenly distributed throughout the custard base.
Be careful not to boil the milk mixture. The custard flavor will be a little burnt if the milk is scalded.
Remove the mixture from the heat and allow it to cool a little, before mixing it with the egg yolks. If the milk is too hot the eggs will curdle.
Whisk the egg yolks and one full egg together.
Pour the pre-heated, but cooled milk over the eggs, and whisk together.
Stir the breadcrumbs into the milk and egg mixture. I like to let it stand for 30 minutes so the crumbs soak up the liquid.
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Grease a 2 quart casserole or ovenproof dish, then pour the breadcrumb mixture into the prepared dish.
I like to cook the base in a “bain marie”. That’s the fancy French term for a hot water bath. Custards cook more evenly when the baking dish is placed in a larger tin filled halfway with hot water.
A common mistake when baking custard is not to put enough water in the hot-water bath. To best protect your custard from excessive heat, the water lever should reach at last half way on the baking dish.
Bake the custard in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes until the custard has set.
When it’s done the top will be springy and a light golden color. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool a little.
You can discard the “bain marie” or water bath at this stage. It won’t be needed again.
Spread the jelly, or jam as we say in Ireland, over the custard base. I like a thick layer of raspberry jam, but feel free to use strawberry or blackberry preserves.
Now it’s time to prepare the meringue topping. Whisk the three egg whites with a pinch of salt using a hand mixer. It’s ready for the sugar once firm white peaks form. Add the sugar and beat again until their surface is glossy.
Some like to use a piping bag for a very precise, decorative topping. I just like to load the meringue on top of the jam, then spread it out with a spoon.
I get carried away making a snow storm scene using the back of a spoon, that ends up looking like the Sahara dessert when cooked. Return the pudding to the oven. Bake until the meringue is golden brown in color, which takes about 20 minutes.
Cool just a little before serving. It’s delicious with hot custard or pouring cream.
This is definitely a dessert that is best served warm.
Queen of Puddings is simply a delicious, retro dessert. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Here’s the printable recipe:
Queen of Puddings
- 3 large egg yolks whites used for meringue topping
- 1 large egg
- 1½ cups whole milk
- 2 ounces butter
- 2 cups breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 lemon grated zest
- ¼ cup raspberry jam
- 3 large egg whites yolks used in custard base
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- Pre-heat oven to 325°F. Grease a 2 quart casserole or ovenproof dish.
- Separate 3 of the egg yolks and whites. Set the egg whites aside for the meringue topping.
- Add the milk, sugar, butter, and lemon rind to a saucepan. Gently heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Do not boil the milk mixture. Remove from heat and allow to cool a little.
- Beat three egg yolks and one full egg together in a separate bowl. Pour the pre-heated, but cooled milk over the eggs, and whisk together.
- Stir the breadcrumbs into the milk and egg mixture. Let stand for 30 minutes to allow the crumbs soak up the liquid.
- Pour the breadcrumb mixture into the prepared dish.
- Place the casserole in a larger 9 x 13 baking dish or roasting tin. Carefully pour hot water into the baking pan until it reaches half-way up the side of the pudding dish.
- Bake for about 40 minutes until mixture is firm and a golden color. Remove from oven. Discard the "bain marie" or water bath. Allow the base to cool while preparing the meringue topping.
Filling and Meringue Topping
- Using an electric mixer beat the three egg whites with a pinch of salt until firm white peaks form. Add the sugar and beat until their surface is glossy.
- Spread the jam over the cooked custard base.
- Top with the meringue mixture. Use the back of a spoon to spread the meringue and form decorative peaks. If you would like a more uniform, eye-appealing topping, use a piping bag to add the meringue layer in decorative swirls
- Return the pudding to the oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the meringue is golden brown in color.
- Serve warm - delicious with hot custard or whipped cream.
If you would like to serve this pudding with hot custard sauce, here’s my recipe for homemade custard from scratch.
Thanks for stopping by to check out my recipes. Happy cooking from my Irish home to yours.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and Blessings)
Irish American Mom
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