Vintage Victuals: Queen of Puddings

as seen on Instagram

There are so many (millions?) of recipes contained within my cherished cookbooks, it’s difficult to choose which to feature here. I don’t want to focus solely on “unfortunate” combinations of ingredients, but at the same time I don’t often remember to photograph those I do make. What to do? Well, today concludes the first week of the London Games, so let’s return to the London-published Cookery For Girls (19550, 1955). There are a number of recipes in here that I look forward to testing, but let’s start with one that will use up my last 2 eggs.

Queen of Puddings, from the book Cookery For Girls, pub. 1955

Queen of Puddings
½ pint milk
1 oz. butter
1 teacup breadcrumbs
grated rind of 1 lemon
1 oz. sugar
2 eggs
Jam
Heat oven. Grease pie-dish. Crumble bread into bowl and add sugar. Warm milk and butter and pour over bread. Soak 10 minutes. Separate yolks and whites, having whites on a plate. Add yolk to mixture in bowl. Mix all ingredients together and pour into pie dish. Bake in a moderate oven (350°F) for ½ hour. Remove from oven and spread top with jam. Beat whites stiffly, fold in 4 ozs. castor sugar, pile meringue on top of pudding. Bake slowly till meringue is pale brown.

Note that the meringue is made with 4 ozs. of sugar which goes unmentioned in the list of ingredients. Also, that a “teacup” of breadcrumbs is somewhat arbitrary, but approximately 6 fluid ounces. I used a ½ cup measure for this preparation. In addition, the reader has to flip to page 17 to determine what a “moderate” oven temperature is, but I’ve included that rather necessary bit of information for you inline with the directions. As for spreading the top with jam: I used about ¼ cup for a thin, but flavorful, layer. Apply while the pudding is still warm enough to melt the jam for an even layer. “Bake slowly until pale brown” took about 20 minutes at 350° at this mile-high altitude.

hot out of the first stint in the oven
Baking a meringue slowly at this temperature will result in an overall beige-ing rather than the white-with-brown-tips that we are currently accustomed to as a pie topping
My choice of apricot jam leads to a rather monochromatic pudding

Result: I quote the boyfriend as saying, “This is damn tasty.” He also made some pun on “Queen,” but that was 12 hours ago and my memory isn’t that good. My notes for repeating this recipe: less sugar in the meringue, and maybe a smaller-in-diameter baking dish to lend a deeper structure to the finished dessert. Maybe it’s supposed to rise, but maybe not. This one didn’t, and looks shallow.

Go forth and bakeify!

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