You would be forgiven for thinking you had seen this picture in the blog before. It might look remarkably similar to the rhubarb meringue pie I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, but you would be wrong. This is not a pie but a pudding. A queen of puddings in fact.
I had only ever vaguely heard of “queen of puddings” before it featured as a technical challenge in a previous GBBO. In principle it consists of a sort of bread and butter custard pudding base, a layer of jam and a meringue topping. For the challenge the contestants had to make their own jam for the filling, a half decent custard and of course the meringue for the top. Quite a few processes and techniques there I suppose, although none of them that challenging except in time management.
I used this recipe on the BBC Good Food website for rhubarb and ginger queen of puddings and followed it reasonably closely except for the rhubarb part. My infant rhubarb plant is not producing enough rhubarb for anything yet so I used the rhubarb compote that you can get in jars in France and is very much like stewed rhubarb. I used the same one as for the meringue pie – it is slightly sweetened.
To add the ginger I simply put some chopped stem ginger on top of the rhubarb compote but for myself I think I would leave it out next time. I only used two balls instead of the four suggested in the recipe but even so I found the flavour too strong. Maybe if I was using fresh rhubarb and cooking it with the chopped ginger as per the recipe it would have turned out better – I realise that rhubarb and ginger are “best friends” - (I have a love hate relationship with some of the sayings used by Jamie Oliver, but can’t help myself using this one) – but here I think the rhubarb by itself would have been better.
The recipe used for the technical challenge used breadcrumbs in the custard base, but I used bought cake and just crumbled it by hand. I would have bought Madeira cake if I was in England but in France I found something very similar called “quatre quarts”, which comes in various flavours as well as plain – it was very similar in texture to a Madeira cake.
We enjoyed it and I would definitely make it again without the addition of the ginger. Once my own rhubarb plant is producing I will be able to make it using my own stewed rhubarb – although I have to say that the jars of compote are delicious and save a lot of trouble……..
This month’s letter in the Alphabakes Challenge is “Q”. The challenge is organised by Caroline of the blog Caroline Makes and this month by Ros of the blog The more than occasional baker. You can see the details here.
For the custard base
140g shop bought Madeira cake (or quatre quarts) (or breadcrumbs)
4 egg yolks
50g caster sugar
For the topping
4 egg whites
100g caster sugar
½jar (approx) sweetened rhubarb compote
two balls of preserved ginger, chopped finely (I would omit this next time)
Preheat the oven to 160°C / 140° fan / gas mk 3.
Crumble the cake until you get fine breadcrumbs and spread into the bottom of a baking dish, 22cm dia approx.
Put the egg yolks, 50g sugar and milk into a jug, whisk together and pour over the crumbs. Leave to soak for 10 minutes while the oven is heating up then bake for 45 minutes. The custard should be set but still have a slight wobble.*
Remove from the oven and turn up the temperature to 200°C / 180° fan / gas mk 6.
To make the meringue whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until stiff, add the 100g caster sugar about a third at a time and whisk until well incorporated and the meringue is stiff and glossy.
Spoon the rhubarb compote over the custard base, dot the chopped ginger over the rhubarb, then pipe or spoon the meringue over the top. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the meringue is crisp and browned.
Serve hot or warm. Serves 4-6.
*You can make the custard base in advance by up to 24 hours, adding the fruit and meringue to bake just before serving, making this a very useful lunch or dinner party dessert. It looks good too.