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BLACKCURRANT QUEEN OF PUDDINGS.

For the pudding: 400g fresh white breadcrumbs 60g golden unrefined caster sugar The grated zest of 2 lemons 2 pints full-cream milk 120g butter, plus an extra bit for greasing 2 vanilla pods, split, seeds removed 8 medium free-range egg yolks (whites reserved) For the blackcurrant compote: 500g blackcurrants A little unrefined golden caster sugar, to taste The juice of a lemon For the meringue: 6 of the egg whites you kept to one side 220g white caster sugar Extras: a litre-capacity pie-dish, and a baking tray into which this will fit easily Method: First, make the compote; in a non-reactive pan, gently heat the blackcurrants with a sprinkling of sugar, according to your taste, and the lemon juice. Stir occasionally, and when the fruit is just beginning to break down, remove from the heat and set aside. Now for the base of the QOP; heat the oven to 180degC / Gas 4. Heat the milk, the vanilla pod (and seeds) plus the butter in a pan, until it's just bubbling. Put the breadcrumbs, sugar and grated lemon zest in a bowl, and strain over the vanilla milk. Mix well, then leave to cool a little for 15 minutes, then beat in the egg yolks.

Tip this mixture into the buttered pie-dish, allow to settle for five minutes, and form a slight crust.

Pop an old teatowel in the base of the baking tray. Place the filled pie dish on top, and carefully pour enough hot water around to come about threequarters of the way up the dish. This allows the pudding to bake gently. Bake the pudding for 15-20 minutes, or until just set.

Remove from the oven and cool slightly, so the top becomes slightly firm.

Spoon over your blackcurrant compote. The amount is up to you, but don't go crazy, or the balance of the dish will be all off-kilter. A thin layer is perfectly effective.

Whisk the egg whites to the soft-peak stage, then add the sugar and continue whisking for a minute or so, until incorporated and nicely glossy. Spoon or pipe the meringue over the pudding, making sure the surface is covered completely.

Raise the heat on the oven to 220degC / Gas 7, and bake for 10 minutes or so, until the meringue is golden and crisp. Serve immediately.

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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Aug 4, 2017
Words:384
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