Sugar Plum Pudding
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Ingredients / Shopping List
80g fresh white breadcrumbs
Zest and juice of lemon
25g butter
3 egg yolks
500ml milk
2 tablespoons double cream
65g caster sugar
 
500g Victoria plums
 
3 egg whites
150g caster sugar
2 fresh or frozen raspberries ( opt)
 
Prep Time:   0:25
Cook Time:   0:25
Serves:   4

Prep to Cook:   Ovenproof flan dish, measuring jug, wooden spoon, pan, mixing bowl, whisk, spatula, tablespoon, food processor for breadcrumbs 

Oven:  180⁰C or Gas Mark 4

Prep:  This pudding has 3 layers.

Prep the bottom layer:
Put the milk, butter and lemon zest in a pan and bring to nearly boiling.
Whisk sugar and egg yolks and lemon juice.
Pour hot milk mixture over the egg yolks and stir well
(Tear up bread and put in processor for 15 seconds to make breadcrumbs)
Place the white breadcrumbs in a mixing bowl and pour over the hot milk
Stir and pour into buttered ovenproof flan dish
Cook for 15 minutes at a gently heat ( 180 C, Gas Mark 4)
 
Prep the plums:
Place plums in a saucepan and just cover them with water.
Bring up to boil and immediately turn down the heat.
Poach the fruits very gently until they are softened.
Cool the fruit and remove the stone from each fruit.
Divide the fruit flesh into smaller pieces.
Drain off the juices and retain to serve with the pudding.
 
Prep the topping
Whisk the eggs whites using a hand held mixer.
Gradually add the sugar and keep whisking until the mixture stand in peaks
 
Assemble the pudding:
Coat the breadcrumb layer with juicy plum pieces
Level out the fruit.
Pile over the meringue and spread out to completely cover the flan dish.  Sprinkle with a little crushed raspberry  juice to give red swirls as a decoration.
Cook gently in the oven for 20 minutes or longer until it is crisp.
 
Check it out !

This is layered pudding and as such can be made in sections and stored until it needs to be assembled. Breadcrumbs can be made from stale bread popped into the food processor for a short time.  

Cooks Know How:    You will see lots of exciting science in action in each part of the pudding.

The egg yolks help the bread and milk mixture to ‘set’ and hold itself firm.  At around 60⁰C the egg yolks begin to become solid and they hold the liquid milk together with the bread.  The starch in the breadcrumbs also softens and gelatinises during the oven baking and this also helps to make the base a suitable layer, solid enough to carry the other ingredients.
The stewing of fruit enables the cells of the fruit to soften due to heat penetration.  The sugars that are naturally in the fruits dissolve and move into the cooking juices as well as spreading evenly throughout the stewed fruit.  Stewing is a process that helps to preserve the fruit by inactivating enzymes that would otherwise cause spoilage.
Egg whites contain proteins that stretch to trap air bubbles, turning the egg mixture white.  The sugar sweetens the egg and holds the whisked egg mixture stiffly giving a gloss.  On cooking the egg proteins set and the sugar may caramelise on the outer meringue peaks turning them golden.  The inner part of the meringue will remain soft.
 

 

Next Time

The layers in this pudding, base, fruit and topping, enable adaptations to be made.  I would suggest changing the fruit to use fruits when in season, raspberries, blackcurrants, gooseberries and even cranberries in December. The breadcrumbs could be stale brioche or granary bread.  For special occasions add some crushed Ratafias. The meringue could be mixed with ground hazelnuts or sprinkled with flaked almonds.