This recipe is from my prized, and now complete, collection of Nigella Lawson books, and it’s soooo English. I had never made or eaten anything like this before, and I was skeptical. Thankfully, it turned out great as I was serving it to guests. We all enjoyed it, and I hope you will, too.
Queen of Puddings consists of a layer of breadcrumbs soaked in custard, a layer of your favorite jam, and a layer of fluffy meringue. If you’re like me, you might think it’s weird to dry out brioche, then blitz it to crumbs, then soak it in an egg and milk mixture. How can that be good? I’m not sure how this magic works, but I assure you, it’s awesome.
You’ll also want to be sure to use a flavor of jam that you really like. I experimented with this particular version and used black currant jam, and it wasn’t as good, in my opinion, as the raspberry version. Use what you love.
If anyone knows how Queen of Puddings got it’s name, I’d love to hear about it. We tried to look it up and couldn’t find a satisfactory answer. I promise, you’ll feel very English eating this pudding, and in my book, that’s pretty awesome.
Setting stuff on fire is rad. I remember when I was a kid, whenever we’d go camping, I’d always find a stick to poke the fire with. I’d let the tip catch on fire and watch it burn ’til it went out, then do it all over again. I’m pretty sure I got in trouble for this fascination a time or two.
When I grew up and discovered you could keep a blow torch in your kitchen, you better believe I signed up straight away. Now I can set sugar on fire whenever I want, and no one can stop me. If you don’t have a kitchen torch yet, I definitely recommend picking one up. They’re not expensive, they’re easy to use, and they’re so much fun.
The obvious place to start with your blow torch is creme brulee. It’s a simple creamy custard topped with a crunchy candy coating. The crunchy bit is what makes it awesome.
All you have to do is top your baked custard with a thin sprinkling of sugar, light your torch, and slowly wave the flame over the sugar until it melts. If you like a deeper caramel flavor, keep going until the sugar starts to brown. Shut your torch off and walk away for about five minutes to allow that molten sugar to turn into a sheet of hardened caramel.
The best moment ever is tapping the top with your spoon and watching it shatter. It’s almost as fun as the actual eating.
Making your own creme brulee is unbelievably easy. Get yourself a machine that shoots fire, and you, too, can pretend to be super fancy and French. Or, you know, a pyromaniac.
Play with fire and make your own creme brulee at home.
1-1/2 teaspoons Triple Sec or other orange liqueur
Preheat oven to 300 and put a kettle of water on to boil.
Put your heavy cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. You want it to get hot, but you don't want it to boil, so keep a close eye on it. At the first sign of a bubble, remove it from the heat.
While your cream is getting hot, beat together your eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer.
With the mixer on low, slowly add in your hot cream. Stir in the vanilla and orange liqueur.
Pour the mixer through a mesh sieve to catch any thick eggy bits, then pour it evenly into three 6 ounce ramekins. Shallow, wide ramekins are best, but if you don't have those (which I don't) everything will be fine. You may just have to bake your custard a bit longer.
Place your ramekins in a rectangular cake pan. Pour the water from your recently boiled kettle into the cake pan until it comes about half way up the side of the ramekins.
Place the whole thing carefully in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes or until there's just the slightest hint of a wobble.
Allow the custard to cool to room temperature, then put it in the fridge for at least two hours.
Sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar evenly over the top of each custard, and use your kitchen torch to melt the sugar. If you don't have a torch, you can place them under the broiler for a few minutes, but keep a close eye on them.
Give everything a few minutes to cool off, then crack and eat away.