Queen of Puddings going in to the oven in the Tent

Queen of Puddings

Queen of Puddings is a traditional British dessert made up of custard thickened with bread crumbs, a layer of jam then piped with pillowy meringue that is browned to perfection!

This classic British dessert is not one that I ever thought that I would make. To be honest, I had never heard of it until I was challenged to make one during a Technical on the Great American Baking Show.

All of the bakers thought that our challenges would be typically American or at least well-known dishes from France. None of us had a clue when Emma Bunton announced during Dessert Week that we had to make a Queen of Puddings.

She actually stumbled over the name of the dessert because she had never heard of it either!

At first I froze because that’s what you do at the beginning of a completely unknown challenge while surrounded by cameras watching your every move.

But then I realized that the Queen of Puddings is made up of very simple elements that I know how to make.

Just take it step by step.

I remember telling the producer/camera when he asked how I would tackle the challenge: “Well, I’m going to make a custard. Then I’m going to make jam. Then I’m going to make french meringue. Then I’m going to put them all together.”

Well, it’s not exactly as simple as that but it’s close!

There are a couple of small tricks that Paul passed on to us AFTER the challenge, of course!

None of us ended up with a stellar Queen of Puddings because of the time constraints. They didn’t show it on TV but every single one of our puddings was too runny.

We didn’t know Paul’s trick to a perfect Queen of Puddings. We all thought that baking it longer was what we needed to do.

I got 3rd place in that challenge and I was absolutely fine with that!

What is a Queen of Puddings?

The first recipe ever recorded for the Queen of Puddings was in 1699 in England. It was created as a way to use up leftover bread instead of wasting it and it is pure genius!

The name most likely refers to Queen Victoria because she loved this dish for dessert. It was all the rage in Britain in the 1970’s and 1980’s but has fallen out of favor lately.

But it is making a come-back thanks to the challenges in the Tent for both British and American bakers!

How to make a Queen of Puddings

The layers are simple enough.

First, bread crumbs are layered into a buttered dish. I have used a glass pie plate so that you can easily see the layers.

Bread crumbs layered into a glass buttered pie dish.

Make a vanilla custard and gently pour it over the bread crumbs.

Bread crumbs and custard in a water bath make up the bottom layer of the Queen of Puddings.


Let the custard and bread soak for about 15 minutes. This allows the bread to soak up the liquid. This is what I do when I make French Toast but with the clock ticking and the cameras rolling, none of us thought of it!

Alex got 1st in this challenge and we asked him if he did this. He said he did it accidentally because his oven wasn’t hot yet so he had to wait. Lucky accident!

While the custard bakes, make the jam on the stove. It is traditional to use raspberry jam or sometimes blackcurrant. But I had fresh strawberries and rhubarb when I made this at home – one of my favorite combinations! The slight tartness perfectly offsets the sweetened meringue.

You can use a jar of pre-made jam if you prefer. This is totally a no judgement zone!

Custard covered with jam, ready for meringe in piping bag to complete Queen of Puddings.

Remove the custard from the oven when it is almost set. There should still be a slight wobble in the middle.

Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes and then gently spread on the jam. Piping the jam on is the easiest way to do this so that you don’t damage the custard layer!

Make the meringue while the custard cools.

Last, pipe the meringue into kisses or whatever your chosen shape is on top of the jam.

Piped and browned meringue on top of Queen of Puddings.

My piping was WAY better in the Tent than at home, thank goodness! Sherry and Paul both said that it was the best piping there (that day!)!

Put the Queen of Puddings back in to the oven to cook and toast the meringue. There should be a slight crispiness on the top, just like toasting marshmallows!

Would I make this again?

Absolutely! I was actually surprised when I made this at home at the texture of the custard and how much I liked it.

The contrast of the crisp top on the meringue, the pillow-y insides, the perfectly set jam with a little tartness and the soft but set custard is HEAVENLY!

This dessert may seem old-school but I can see why it is making a comeback!

Have you ever made a Queen of Puddings? Let me know in the comments if you have made it and if you liked it!

Queen of Puddings

Recipe by Tanya Ott


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 25 grams (2 Tablespoons) unsalted butter plus more for greasing the pan

  • 75 grams white bread crumbs

  • 600mL whole milk

  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) granulated sugar

  • 3 large egg yolks

  • For the jam layer
  • 100 grams strawberries, hulled and chopped

  • 100 grams rhubarb, chopped (fresh or frozen)

  • 200 grams granulated sugar

  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

  • For the Meringue
  • 75 grams granulated sugar

  • 3 large egg whites


  • Preheat the oven to 325F/170C. Grease a pie pan well with butter.
  • For the custard, gently warm the milk in a small saucepan. Add the butter and the 50 grams sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Lightly whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Slowly pour the warm milk into the eggs, while whisking continuously. (This is known as tempering and it is done slowly to prevent the eggs from scrambling.)
  • Sprinkle the breadcrumbs into the buttered dish. Pour the custard over the bread crumbs. Leave to stand for about 15 minutes, so the breadcrumbs absorb the liquid.
  • Carefully transfer the dish to a roasting pan and fill the pan about halfway with hot water. (This is a water bath and will help with slow, even baking of the custard). Bake the custard in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until the custard has just set but still has a slight wobble in the middle. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool a little.
  • Meanwhile, put the strawberry and rhubarb into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and cook over medium heat. Once the fruit has softened and released their juice, add the sugar and lemon juice and stir to combine.
  • Heat gently until you have a jam-like consistency. If you are using frozen berries they will release more liquid so you might need to cook for longer to thicken to the right jam consistency. The temperature of the jam should be at least 215F.
  • Next, make the meringue. Whisk the egg whites using until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed. Add the remaining 175g sugar a teaspoonful at a time, still whisking on high speed until the mixture is stiff and shiny. Transfer the meringue mixture to a piping bag.
  • Gently spread about 1/4 cup of the jam over the set custard, and then pipe the meringue on top. The shape of
    ‘kisses’ is the most traditional.
  • Lower the oven temperature to 275F and return the pudding to the oven (not in the roasting pan with water) for about 25 minutes until the meringue is pale golden all over and crisp.

For more British Recipes, check out these posts!


  1. Pingback: STRAWBERRY RECIPES – Caroline's Easy Baking Lessons

  2. It’s funny that I’m reading this today. Yesterday I had never heard of this. But last night I watched the real season one of the Great British Baking Show and this was the technical challenge. I thought it looked yummy so would like to give it a go.

    By the way, do you know where I can stream the Great American Baking Show? I was able to find the first season but can’t find the rest. Would love to see it.

    • I love those first seasons of GBBO! Actually, I love all of the seasons but it’s so fun to see a season for the first time.

      Unfortunately, the Great American Baking Show was only on Hulu until July 2020. I wish Netflix would pick it up and show all of the seasons but I’m sure that it’s a licensing thing. Where did you find the first season? I haven’t seen it ages and would love to re-watch.

  3. Interesting secret to a good custard. I do find that the prevalence of these kinds of arcane secrets in the technicals unfairly benefits contestants who fortuitously have some tiny bit of trivia (or get lucky as Alex did). It’s a feature of the format I dislike.

    • I totally agree! They do assume a certain amount of technical knowledge to get the bakers through the challenges but there is a fair bit of intuition as well as luck that plays into it!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *