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Queen of Puddings

The aptly named Queen of Puddings dates to the seventeenth century, but food historians speculate that its moniker came hundreds of years later, in honor of Queen Victoria. It's a pudding deluxe, consisting of a custardy bread base topped with jam (ours is black currant) and a billowy layer of golden-tan meringue.

  • Servings: 6

Source: Martha Stewart Living, February 2007

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for baking dishes
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 loaf white sandwich bread (about 1 pound), crusts removed, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 4 large eggs, separated, plus 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup black-currant jam

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter six 1 1/2- to 1 3/4-cup oval gratin dishes; set aside.

  2. Bring milk, butter, 1/2 cup sugar, the zest, and salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Add bread; remove from heat. Let stand, stirring often, 30 minutes.

  3. Stir in yolks. Divide evenly among prepared dishes. Bake until just set, about 15 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack 30 minutes. Reduce temperature to 325 degrees.

  4. Heat jam in a small saucepan until thin. Spread over tops of puddings.

  5. Put egg whites and remaining 1/2 cup sugar into the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk until sugar has dissolved and whites are warm, about 2 minutes. Attach bowl to mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until medium peaks form. Mound meringue over puddings, leaving a 1/2-inch border.

  6. Bake until meringue is golden all over and puddings are heated through, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

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