I made them for friends who came to lunch the other day and they were an enormous hit, evoking fond memories of home baking and school dinners. Most of us hadn’t had anything like it for decades and it sparked a lively conversation!
They were easy enough to make although the timing was tricky. I made the base of egg mixture and jam the day before, the kitchen being cool enough overnight without having to find space for them in the fridge. I got the egg whites ready in a bowl and sugar measured out before the gang arrived, whisked up the meringue and baked them when the main course came out of the oven.
They were still nice and warm when we ate them. Delicious! (Because there are several steps and you have to think about the timing I have given the recipe two stars in terms of how fiddly it is!)
It has occurred to me that these puddings would make a nice alternative to Christmas pudding! You could make the breadcrumb base on Christmas Eve and finish off on the big day.
(I have posted about Queen of puddings before, a completely different recipe, that you can see here.)
1 pint of milk
110g fresh white breadcrumbs
100g caster sugar (plus a little extra for sprinkling)
1 lemon (zest only)
3 large eggs, separated
6 dessertspoons, or about half a jar, of cherry jam (or any other red jam of your choice)
Butter six suitable ovenproof dishes, whether ceramic or glass.
Put the milk into a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat.
To make the breadcrumbs, weigh slices of bread to make 110g and blitz in a food processor.
Stir the butter, breadcrumbs, 60g of the sugar and the lemon zest into the hot milk. Set aside for about 20 minutes to allow the breadcrumbs to swell.
Preheat the oven to 180C / 160 fan / gas mk4.
Put the whites on one side in a grease free bowl or container. Beat the yolks and whisk them into the breadcrumb mixture.
Divide the mixture between the six dishes and bake on a baking tray for about 25 minutes until set.
At this stage you can either proceed and finish the puddings or set aside until nearer the time when you want to serve them, or overnight.
Spread a layer of jam over the breadcrumb mixture, heating the jam to make it more spreadable if necessary.
Preheat the oven as before.
Add the remaining 40g sugar to the egg whites and use an electric hand whisk to beat them to stiff peaks. Pile this evenly on the puddings, making sure you spread out to the edges of each dish and creating little peaks. Sprinkle with a little extra caster sugar.
Return the tray of puddings to the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes until the meringues are golden brown.
Serve hot or just warm. Leftovers kept in the fridge are also nice cold.
Makes 6 individual puddings.