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Queen of Puddings

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Serves 6
Preparation time - less than 30 mins
Cooking time - 30 mins to 1 hour

Mary Berry's step-by-step recipe for this retro British pudding of custard, cake and jam topped with soft, chewy meringue.  However, this one comes with fresh frozen fruits, which helps to offset the richness of this wonderful but simple dish.

You will need a 1.4L/2½pt oval ovenproof dish that will fit inside a roasting tin.

For the base
    •    600ml/1 pint full-fat milk
    •    25g/1oz butter, plus extra for greasing the dish
    •    1 lemon, zest finely grated
    •    50g/2oz caster sugar
    •    3 free-range eggs, yolks only
    •    75g/3oz fresh white breadcrumbs

For the meringue
    •    175g/6oz caster sugar
    •    3 free-range eggs, whites only

For the fruit jam
    •    200g/7oz fresh mixed summer fruits, or 500g/1lb 2oz frozen. (Alternatively you can use raspberry jam if you prefer.)

    •    200g/7oz caster sugar (or to taste - I added only a tiny amount)

To serve
    •    pouring cream


    1.    Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3 and grease a 1.4 litre/2½ pint shallow
          ovenproof dish (one that will fit into a roasting tin) with butter.

    2.    For the base, very gently warm the milk in a small saucepan. Add the butter,
          lemon zest and the 50g/2oz of sugar, stir until dissolved.

    3.    Lightly whisk the egg yolks in a bowl. Slowly pour the warm milk into the
          eggs, while whisking.

    4.    Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the base of the buttered dish and pour over
          the custard. Leave to stand for about 15 minutes, so the breadcrumbs absorb
          the liquid.

    5.    Carefully transfer the dish to a roasting tin and fill the tin halfway with hot
          water.     Bake the custard in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes
          until the custard has set. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool a little.

    6.    Meanwhile, put the mixed summer fruits into a pan and warm over a gentle
          heat.    Once they’ve softened and released their juice, add the sugar (be
          sparing)  and cook for a further three minutes.

    7.    Heat gently until you have a jam-like consistency.     If you are using frozen
          berries they will release more liquid so you might need to cook for longer to
          thicken to the right jam consistency.

    8.    Whisk the egg whites using an electric hand whisk on full speed until stiff
          peaks form when the whisk is removed. Add the remaining 175g/6oz sugar a
          teaspoon at a time, still whisking on maximum speed until the mixture is stiff
          and shiny.     Transfer the meringue mixture to a piping bag.    (I just used a

    9.    Spread 4-5 tablespoons of the fruit jam over the set custard, then pipe the
          meringue on top.

    10.    Lower the oven temperature to 150C/300F/Gas 2 and return the pudding to
           the oven (not in the roasting tin with water) for about 25-30 minutes until
           the meringue is pale golden all over and crisp.

    11.    Serve at once with pouring cream.
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