I’m not going to lie: Victorian Britain and me would probably not have gotten along too well. With an emphasis on beef, mutton, pork, gelatine, jam, and sugar in cooking I think I would have been living off of toast with jam and gallons of tea. Possibly Yorkshire pudding as well, which was apparently invented around this time. Victorian desserts seemed to be extremely elaborate when it came to entertaining, verging on the point of looking quite camp in this fabulous way- surprising for such a straight laced (and we all know secretly pretty naughty) society.
Victorian desserts included rich ingredients like treacle, plenty of sugar, and even some strange ways of adding gold or silver colourings using copper and zinc. Blue colour was even created using iron- although here we’re creating it with fruit. Bakewell pudding (to evolve into the tart), Eve’s pudding, spotted dick, and jam roly poly are all Victorian desserts, but I wanted to have a bash at something slightly more obscure.
Queen of Puddings is a traditional Victorian dessert, supposedly called such as Queen Victoria once enjoyed a helping. It constitutes a base of custard with breadcrumbs to give a spongey-custardy layer, and then a spread of jam, and finally a light and sweet meringue topping- crisp on the outside, but with an interior resembling a marshmallow. It’s oven baked and eaten hot with cream. All of the recipes I found used a raspberry jam, but I like to shake it up a bit here. So, we have the (still classic, but not so Victorian) combination of lemon curd and blueberries…
Ingredients (serves 6)
- 25g butter
- 285ml milk
- 100g golden caster sugar
- 85g white breadcrumbs
- 2 eggs, separated. Beat the egg yolks lightly.
- 2tbsp lemon curd
- 80g fresh blueberries
- Double cream, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 180*c, grease a 20cm pie dish
- In a saucepan on a low heat bring to the boil the milk, 1tbsp of the sugar, and the butter.
- Place the breadcrumbs into a bowl, and once the milk has boiled pour it over the breadcrumbs. Allow to soak for 15 minutes, and then stir in the beaten egg yolks.
- Place the blueberries into a microwavable dish and microwave until they soften, then stir into the breadcrumb and milk mix- until it turns blue. Pour this into your prepared dish, and bake for 25 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and put to one side; leave the oven on, but turn it down to 160*c
- Spread the 2tbsp of lemon curd over the base.
- In a bowl use an electric whisk to beat the egg whites until foamy, and forming soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar, and beat in using the whisk, until the peaks become glossy and stiff.
- Empty the meringue mixture onto the lemon curd, and spread over the base with a light hand, forming swirls and peaks. Place into the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the meringue begins to turn golden.
- Remove from the oven and serve with a drizzle of double cream…