A luxury queen of puddings
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.
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
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.