An old favourite revisited with a new twist – home-made soft fruit jam. If you prefer, you can use a good raspberry jam. There are three key elements to get right here: custard, jam and meringue. To get top marks, the three must remain separate.
600ml/1 pint full-fat milk
25g/1oz unsalted butter
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
225g/8oz caster sugar
3 large free-range eggs, at room temperature, separated
75g/2½ oz fresh white breadcrumbs
For the jam
200g/7oz mixed summer fruits (raspberries, blueberries, blackcurrants and redcurrants) OR 500g/1lb 2oz frozen mixed berries
200g/7oz caster sugar, or to taste
1 x 1.4l capacity shallow ovenproof dish, buttered; roasting tin; piping bag fitted with a plain or star tube (or disposable piping bag with the tip snipped off)
1. To make the custard base, very gently warm the milk in a small pan. Add the butter, lemon zest and 50g/2oz of the sugar; stir until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved. Lightly whisk the egg yolks in a large heatproof mixing bowl, then gradually whisk in the warm milk mixture.
2. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the base of the buttered dish. Pour over the custard. Leave to stand for about 15 minutes so the breadcrumbs can absorb the liquid. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 160 C/325 F/gas 3.
3. Carefully set the dish in the roasting tin and pour enough hot water into the tin to come halfway up the side of the dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the custard base is firm and set. Remove from the oven and lift the dish from the roasting tin. Leave to cool for 15 minutes. Leave the oven on, but reduce the temperature to 150 C/300 F/gas 2.
4. While the custard base is cooling, make the jam. Put the mixed fruits into a pan and warm over low heat until they have softened and released their juices. Add the sugar and continue to cook gently, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes until you have a jam-like consistency. (If using frozen berries, they will release more liquid, so will take longer to cook to a jam-like consistency.)
5. Put the egg whites into a large bowl and whisk with a hand-held electric mixer on full speed until stiff. Whisk in the remaining sugar a teaspoon at a time, still on full speed, to make a very stiff and glossy meringue. Spoon the meringue into the piping bag fitted with the plain or star tube.
6. Spread 4-5 tablespoons of the fruit jam over the custard base, then pipe the meringue on top to cover the jam completely. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the meringue is pale golden and crisp. Serve immediately, with a jug of pouring cream.
Watch the contestants practise their puddings tonight on The Great British Bake Off at 8.00pm on BBC2.
Recipe taken from The Great British Bake Off: How to Turn Everyday Bakes into Showstoppers by Linda Collister (BBC Books). It’s available for £18 (usually £20) including p&p. Call 01326 569444 (national rate) quoting RT, or visit www.rtoffer.sparkledirect.com