Queen of puddings

For a truly splendid dessert try Sophie Grigson's classic English pudding, a delicious combination of flavours and textures
By Sophie Grigson
Queen of puddings
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 5-6
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes plus standing
  • Effort: easy



  • 60 g soft white breadcrumbs
  • 45 g butter
  • 600 ml full-fat milk
  • zest of 1 lemons, finely grated
  • 30 g vanilla sugar, (or caster sugar with ½ tsp of vanilla extract)
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 2-3 tbsp raspberry or apricot jam
  • 110 g caster sugar
  • cream, for serving

Tips and Suggestions

This recipe contains lightly cooked eggs. Raw or lightly cooked eggs should not be served to children, elderly people, invalids or pregnant women because of the risk of contracting salmonella.


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4.

2. Place the breadcrumbs in a mixing bowl.

3. Bring the butter, milk, lemon zest and vanilla sugar gently to the boil in a saucepan. Pour the hot milk over the breadcrumbs, stir and leave until tepid.

4. Beat in the egg yolks and pour into a buttered 1.5 litre pie dish.

5. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until the custard mixture is just set, but no more; the exact timing will depend on the size of your dish, so check it towards the end of the cooking period.

6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Spread the warmed jam thinly over the surface.

7. Set aside a teaspoonful of the caster sugar. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Sprinkle over half the remaining caster sugar, then whisk again until the sugar dissolves into the mixture to give a glossy soft meringue.

8. Now fold in the remaining caster sugar. Dollop the meringue over the jam, spreading it roughly so that it is heaped up but covers the jam and custard completely. Sprinkle over the reserved caster sugar.

9. Bake for a further 10 minutes or so, until the meringue is honey-brown.

10. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature, with cream.

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