One of the marvels of cooking is when you combine humble ingredients – in this case soft breadcrumbs, eggs, milk and jam – and create something totally scrumptious. Baked breadcrumb custard spread with jam and topped with meringue is in my ‘hard-to-beat’ list of puddings. For added glamour I often pipe the snowy peaks of meringue to resemble a crown. Nan enjoyed the history of recipes telling us that this was one of Queen Victoria’s favourite puddings. I am forever grateful she shared it with Nan.

Serves 6
Time: 1 hour

1½ tbs butter

1½ cups (375ml) full-cream milk

1 tbs caster (superfine) sugar

1½ cups (90g) fresh white breadcrumbs

Grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon

2 large free-range eggs, separated

2 tbs raspberry jam, warmed

Extra 1/3 cup (75g) caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan-forced 160°C). Use a little of the butter to grease a round ovenproof dish about 22cm x 6.5cm deep.

Put the remaining butter, the milk and the 1 tbs of sugar in a pan over low heat and bring almost to the boil, stirring occasionally.

ABP_final-front-coverPut the breadcrumbs in a bowl and pour over the hot milk mixture. Leave to soak for 15 minutes, then stir in the lemon zest and juice. Whisk the egg yolks and stir in. Pour the custard mixture into the greased dish and bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes or until firmly set. Remove and let cool. Leave the oven on. Spread the jam evenly over the pudding. To make the meringue put the egg whites in a squeaky clean bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. Continue whisking while gradually adding the extra sugar until the meringue is smooth and glossy. Roughly spread the meringue over the jam making sure the entire surface is covered. Bake for 15–20 minutes, or until the meringue is golden. Serve hot with cream.

(For very rich custard use half milk and half pure cream. A split vanilla bean can be added to scent the hot milk mixture. Dried breadcrumbs are not an option here. Fresh crumbs are easily made by blitzing crustless soft white bread in a food processor.)

Recipes and Images from Apple Blossom Pie by Kate McGhie, published by Murdoch Books