Saturday, June 12, 2010

Queen of cake crumbs

 You may remember me mentioning that the date cake I made the other day was, while very tasty, also very crumbly. What I didn't tell you is that I carefully collected up all the crumbs from the cake plate, because I'd seen a pudding in the Edmonds book that had cake crumbs as an ingredient.

The recipe for queen of puddings (p212) specifies 1 cup of cake or bread crumbs. Despite my diligent crumb-collecting, I didn't have quite enough even for a half-recipe. I found a lonely hot cross bun in my freezer, zapped it, and pulled enough little bits of dough out of it to bring my crumb total to half a cup. I also ended up with quite a few little bits of fruit in with the breadcrumbs, but I figured that's all to the good, right?

I put the crumbs in the bottom of my smallest casserole dish, and separated an egg. I set the egg white aside for later, and beat the yolk with some milk and sugar. This mixture was then poured over the cake crumbs, and the dish went into the oven at 160 for 30 minutes.

The mixture was nowhere near set after 30 minutes in the oven. In fact, it was still completely liquid. I put it in for another 10 minutes, and another 5.. by the time it was set, it'd been in the oven for an hour. I'm not sure why it took so long - perhaps I should have put it in a shallower, wider dish.

Since I have never tried queen of puddings before, or even heard of it, I had no way of knowing what it was supposed to look like. It seemed set, but not solid. I had to assume that the odd gluggy texture was the desired result.

I allowed the base to cool before spreading jam over it - it should have been raspberry, but I substituted some of my homemade blueberry. Then I beat up the egg white with some sugar to make the meringue, piped it on, and put it back in the oven at 200 to cook the meringue.

A few short minutes later, it was ready. I have to say, the meringue at least looked pretty cool. I scooped myself out a bowlful, and had a taste.

Well, the meringue was good, though I wish I could have got it crispy. How do you get a meringue topping to go a little bit crispy on top? Mine always threatens to burn before it gets crispy. I suppose I could try a lower temperature.

The jam was good too, but I'm not at all sure that I got the base right. It was sort of eggy and gluggy - not bad, just a little strange. There was an occasional hint of peel or currant from the hot cross bun crumbs, which actually worked quite well with the jam. On the whole, it was not an unpleasant pudding (or breakfast! I had the leftovers this morning) but I'm not sure I'd bother with it again.

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