Baked, breadcrumb-thickened, egg custard, strongly citrus flavoured, spread with jam and topped with meringue. Customarily made with very high, pointed peaks of meringue to give a crown-like appearance.
Not the same dish as Queen's Pudding , though the two names are slightly interchangeable.
The term 'Queen of Puddings' has been applied to a number of desert dishes over the years, simply as a way of indicating a fine pudding. The established form of thickened-custard base with fruit/jam and meringue over, usually citrus flavoured, is said to have been developed from a 17th century receipt by Queen Victoria's cooks, though we haven't tracked down either the original receipt, or the cook.
Queen of Puddings
Image: Dan Doherty http://www.dan-doherty.co.uk/
Original Receipt from 'Sheffield Evening Telegraph' - Friday 25 October 1895
Queen's Pudding.—Take half pint of bread stale cake crumbs, one pint of milk, yolks of two eggs. 2oz. of sugar, 1oz. butter, and a little essence lemon. Mix all in dish and bake for 1 hour. Put a thin layer of jam on the top, beat the whites of two a stiff froth with Iittle lemon juice and white sugar, over the jam, and return to the oven till very lightly browned. Serve it cold. This is a good supper dish.
Original Receipt from 'Pot-luck; or, The British home cookery book' by May Byron (Byron 1914)
606. QUEEN OF PUDDINGS (Surrey) One pint of bread crumbs, one quart of milk, one teacupful of white sugar, yolks of four eggs, grated rind of one lemon. Beat the yolks, sugar, and lemon together, and stir in the crumbs. Bake to a light brown colour. Then beat the whites of the four eggs to a stiff froth, with four tablespoonfuls of sugar. Spread currant jelly over the top of the pudding; spread over this the beaten whites, and set it back in the oven long enough to brown slightly. Serve cold. A little vanilla may be used in place of lemon.
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