The Queen of Puddings

18 Aug 2010

I know, right? And yes, it tastes as divine as it looks…especially right out of the oven. Mmmmm.

Last week I was graciously given an old Irish cookery and home economics book that was used here in Ireland during the 1940’s and 50’s.  It is called “All in the Cooking, the Colaiste Mhuire book of Household Cookery”. Steeped in tradition and an absolute true gem to add to my cookbook collection, I had been pouring over it’s pages for days looking for the perfect first recipe to feature on my blog.  There are so many fascinating and historical recipes to choose from; from sweet puddings to savory sauces, a muriad of potato preparations to special “invalid cookery” dishes and the list goes on. But when I came upon the gorgeous and aptly titled, “Queen of Puddings” recipe, in all it’s glory….marked up and checked off as if it had been made a dozen times, I instantly {and giddily} decided that this would be the one.

Using meringue in Irish desserts was very common years ago as eggs were easier to come by than other more elaborate ingredients at the time. The same could be said for using jam and other conserves for sweet treats as well. Whatever the reason, this bread-ish pudding is utterly delicious.

I did a little research to see how many of my Irish friends had ever tried this and recieved a smattering of responses, a few who never had and many whom it brought back the fondest childhood memories. One of which, Tom Doorley, former Irish Times food writer and current Irish Daily Mail food columnist, commented via Twitter that this was a favourite of his when he was growing up, his mother had mostly used orange zest, but he prefers the lemon as prescribed in the forthcoming recipe.

Sweet, but also very light in flavour and texture…the perfect dessert to end a lovely Sunday family lunch or to accompany as part of a girly afternoon tea party or picnic.

I have provided the original recipe and also an updated version with oven temps and ml measurements.


Odlums Recipe:


600ml/1pt Milk

25g/1oz Butter

50g/2oz Sugar

Rind of 1 Lemon

2 Large Eggs (separated)

125g/4oz Breadcrumbs


2 Tablespoons Raspberry Jam


The Egg Whites

Pinch of Salt

125g/4oz Caster Sugar


Preheat oven to 150°C/300°F/Gas 3. Grease a casserole or Pyrex dish.

Put the milk, butter, sugar, and lemon rind into a saucepan and gently heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool.

Beat the egg yolks and pour the heated milk onto them. Put the breadcrumbs into the prepared dish and pour over the liquid.

Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes until mixture is ‘set’ and golden in colour. Remove from oven.

Meanwhile, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until dry looking in appearance. Add the caster sugar and beat until shiney.

Spread the jam over the base then pile on the meringue, return to the oven until ‘set’ and golden brown.

Serve while hot.

Slan Abhaile,


Photo by Imen McDonnell. Assisted by Master Geoffrey McDonnell

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19 Responses to “The Queen of Puddings”

  1. “The Queen of Puddings | farmette” ended up being certainly compelling and instructive!
    Within the present day universe that’s really difficult to manage.
    Thanks a lot, Carroll

  2. […] the bread and open the jar of freshly potted raspberry jam, and voila, she appoints a beguiling “Queen of Puddings!” The following week, she uses more breadcrumbs and a tin of golden syrup to make a treacle tart. […]

  3. Angela says:

    We used All In The Cooking when I went to school in the ’70’s. I still have it (even though it’s falling apart) and refer to it often. It’s one book I would never give up:)
    I remember making this sish many times in cookery classes. I loved it 🙂

  4. Eadaoin says:

    This looks delicious! And a wonderful photo to accompany (I like your styling!), I think I will have to try this recipe it seems to good to miss.

  5. Melinda says:

    I’m going to purchase the book you mentioned and the finished product looks delish.

    • Melinda says:

      Actually you were dang lucky to get your hands on that cookbook. I’ve been searching and the least expensive copy I’ve found is $250 – must be quite a book!

      • Deirdre says:

        A few books have been re-published recently, such as Soundings, Exploring English and more recently “All About Home Economics” by Deirdre Madden – which was re-published after an internet campaign!

        I would LOVE to have a copy of All in the Cooking. This was the cookbook my mother used. If loads of people started an internet campaign you never know what might happen!

  6. Clare says:

    Yum, this looks delicious!! I am a huge meringue fan so this fits the bill perfectly!

  7. David says:

    It looks delish, exactly how I remember it…. Will have to try this out myself and introduce my daughter to the ‘queen of puddings’!!…

  8. Kay Reinhart says:

    beautiful–really must try this–what do you use for breadcrumbs? did you make them (if so how) or do you buy the bags of crumbs sold in the meat chiller in the shops? thanks!

    • imen says:

      Thanks Kay. I used fresh baked bread crumbs. But, go to the market and pick up some nice crusty white bread, take off the crust and put it in a food processor or blender to chop up. I wouldn’t reco the pre-packaged. Enjoy!! x

  9. Breeda Ryan says:

    Just had a little trip down memory lane… The Cecil Hotel in Limerick, (long gone) used to serve this dessert and I just loved it. Soft, Gooey and Sweet, what more could you ask for!
    And thank you so much for including copy of ‘All in the Cooking’. I did home ec and typeface/font, measurements & personal touches took me back a few years.

  10. Yes, I can remember making this, it is very sweet and def needs the lemon zest. Perfect for Sunday lunch. It must have been fun looking at all the old recipes.

    • imen says:

      Lorna and Breeda, glad you like it…and that it brings back sweet memories. It tastes so creamy and yummy, how lovely to have grown up with it!

  11. Kristin says:

    I’ve worked on a few Irish home ec textbooks recently, and they still have sections on what to cook for invalids!

    • imen says:

      Wow Kristin, well, i actually think that cooking for “invalids” is important to learn. I never foresaw my wonderful father becoming terminally ill and when he did i became his full time carer. I had no idea what to cook when he could no longer really eat solids. It would have been nice to have a few things up my sleeve I suppose.

  12. Wow Imen, this looks amazing. That is all that needs to said I think.

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