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Mary’s Queen of Puddings

by Mary Berry from The Great British Bake Off: How to turn everyday bakes into Showstoppers by Linda Collister (BBC Books)

An old favourite revisited with a new twist – home-made soft fruit jam. If you prefer, you can use a good raspberry jam. There are 3 key elements to get right here: custard, jam and meringue and to get top marks with Mary and Paul the 3 must remain separate.

Serves 6


600ml full-fat milk

25g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the dish

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

225g caster sugar

3 large free-range eggs, at room temperature, separated

75g fresh white breadcrumbs

For the jam

200g mixed summer fruits (raspberries, blueberries, blackcurrants and redcurrants) or 500g frozen mixed berries.

200g caster sugar, or to taste

1 x 1.4L capacity shallow ovenproof dish, buttered; a roasting tin; a piping bag fitted with a plain or star tube (or a disposable piping bag with the tip snipped off)


1. To make the custard base, very gently warm the milk in a small pan. Add the butter, lemon zest and 50g of the sugar and stir until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved. Lightly whisk the egg yolks in a large heatproof mixing bowl, then gradually whisk in the warm milk mixture.

2. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the base of the buttered dish. Pour over the custard. Leave to stand for about 15 minutes so the breadcrumbs can absorb the liquid. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 160C/325F/gas 3.

3. Carefully set the dish in the roasting tin and pour enough hot water into the tin to come halfway up the side of the dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the custard base is firm and set. Remove from the oven and lift the dish from the roasting tin. Leave to cool for 15 minutes. Leave the oven on, but reduce the temperature to 150C/300F/gas 2.

4. While the custard base is cooling, make the jam. Put the mixed fruits into a pan and warm over low heat until they have softened and released their juices. Add the sugar and continue to cook gently, stirring occasionally for about 3 minutes until you have a jam like consistency. (If using frozen berries, they will release more liquid, so will take longer to cook to a jam like consistency).

5. Put the egg whites into a large bowl and whisk with a hand-held electric mixer on full speed until stiff. Whisk in the remaining sugar a teaspoon at a time, still on full speed, to make a very stiff and glossy meringue. Spoon the meringue into the piping bag fitted with the plain or star tube.

6. Spread 4-5 tablespoons of the fruit jam over the custard base, then pipe the meringue on top to cover the jam completely. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the meringue is pale golden and crisp. Serve immediately, with a jug of pouring cream.

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