A lux­ury queen of pud­dings

Country Life Every Week - - Simon’s Kitchen -

Serves 4 (with enough for sec­onds)

I have named this queen of pud­dings ‘lux­ury’ as the usual layer of a sim­ple spread of jam has been re­placed with a seam of fresh rasp­berry com­pote and there are brioche crumbs— rather than the usual plain bread­crumbs—in the cus­tard base. Don’t feel shy of buy­ing the brioche—a su­per­mar­ket loaf is just fine, here—but please don’t omit the fi­nal dredge of caster sugar on the meringue be­fore putting it into the oven as this, truly, will make all the dif­fer­ence to the fin­ished crust.

In­gre­di­ents

450ml milk (full-cream Chan­nel

Is­lands, for pref­er­ence) Grated rind of 1 lemon plus

a squeeze of juice 250g fresh or frozen rasp­ber­ries 175g caster sugar 4 small eggs, sep­a­rated (I use small Bur­ford Browns as the yolks give a gor­geous golden tint to the cus­tard base) 75g brioche crumbs (re­move crust be­fore pro­cess­ing to crumbs) A lit­tle soft­ened but­ter Ex­tra caster sugar for sprin­kling over the sur­face of the meringue

Method

Warm the milk with the lemon rind, then re­move from the heat, cover and leave to in­fuse for 30 min­utes. Put the rasp­ber­ries in a small, stain­lesssteel saucepan with 25g of the given weight of sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Slowly heat un­til the fruit’s juices be­gin to run, then qui­etly sim­mer un­til re­duced to a soft mush, with most of the juice hav­ing evap­o­rated. Put aside to cool.

Place the egg yolks in a bowl and add 50g of the given weight of sugar. Whisk un­til pale and creamy, then pour in the lemon-flavoured milk, add a pinch of salt and the brioche crumbs and mix all to­gether thor­oughly. Lightly but­ter a bak­ing dish, pour in the mix­ture and leave for 15 min­utes to al­low the crumbs to swell.

Pre­heat the oven to 180˚C/ 350˚F/gas mark 4 and bake the pud­ding in a bain-marie— us­ing tap-hot wa­ter—for 25–30 min­utes or un­til set and just firm to the touch. Re­move from the bain-marie and leave un­til quite cold—you can rest it in the fridge to speed up the process, if you like. Re­duce the oven tem­per­a­ture to 170˚C/ 325˚F/gas mark 3.

Once the pud­ding is cold, spoon on the rasp­berry mix­ture to cover.

Now, beat the egg whites un­til stiff and start to add the fi­nal 100g of sugar in a thin stream. Con­tinue beat­ing un­til thick and glossy, then pile the meringue over the rasp­berry layer. Shape with the back of a spoon into soft peaks and gen­er­ously sprin­kle all over with the ex­tra caster sugar.

Re­turn the pud­ding to the oven for about 7–10 min­utes or un­til pale golden with a lightly crusted sur­face. Leave to cool un­til luke­warm and serve with very cold pour­ing cream.

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