Confession: I’ve never had a real queen’s pudding before. I didn’t discover it until after cutting out grains and unfortunately, breadcrumbs seem to be a staple in every recipe I’ve come across.
Meringue is one of my very favorite things so a couple variations of this English staple had caught my eye on Pinterest, namely this one by Donna Hay (of course, as she is amazing). Without the breadcrumbs, I defaulted to a simple custard for the base, since that’s pretty close to what it is traditionally. And with a couple of persimmons ripening on the counter for weeks, waiting for the perfect application, the jam for topping was born.
If you aren’t sure what I mean by “very, very ripe” in the directions below, just go ahead and let your persimmons sit out on the counter for 2-3 weeks undisturbed. When they start to feel very soft (but not brown), they’re ready. The riper you let them get, the sweeter they will be.
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Cook time: 1.5 hours
Yields: 4 servings
For the Cardamom Custard:
1/4 c. honey
1 1/2 c. coconut cream or grass-fed heavy cream
2 tbsp. brandy or rum (optional)
1 vanilla bean, split & seeds removed
1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. sea salt
For the Persimmons Jam:
2 very, very ripe medium-sized persimmons
1 medium orange, juice & zest
2 tbsp. honey (optional depending on ripeness of the persimmons)
For the Meringue:
3 egg whites
1/4 – 1/2 c. honey
large pinch of sea salt
Preheat the oven to 300F. Have ready 4 medium-sized ramekins set inside a large roasting pan that fits all 4 comfortably.
Add all of the Cardamom Custard ingredients to a blender (use just the inner seeds from the vanilla bean). Blend on high until smooth. Portion the liquid between the 4 ramekins. Move the roasting pan into the oven and carefully pour enough warm water inside the pan to come about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake for 30-45 minutes (cook time will vary based on the size/width of your ramekins). The custard is done when it’s very lightly brown on top and still slightly jiggly in the center. Allow the custard to cool in the roasting pan until cool enough to remove, about 30 minutes.
While the custard is baking, prepare the Persimmons Jam. Core and peel the persimmons and add them to the blender, along with the juice and zest of one orange, and 2 tablespoons of honey. Blend until very smooth. Transfer the jam to a small saucepan and cook over medium low heat until it has thickened, about 10 minutes. (watch for splatters!) Move the jam to the refrigerator to chill until cool, or minimum room temperature.
Once the jam and custard have cooled, prepare the meringue by adding the egg whites, honey (choose the amount, mild to medium, to your liking — the more honey you add, the silkier your meringue will be), and sea salt to the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk the ingredients together well. Set the bowl over a bowl of simmering water and whisk continuously until the honey has melted and the egg whites feel warm to the touch.
Move the mixing bowl to your stand mixer and with the whisk attachment, beat at low speed until the whites begin to froth up. Move the speed to medium for about 1-2 minutes, and then move the speed to high for another 1-2 minutes, or until the meringue has doubled in volume and holds a very stiff peak.
Assemble your puddings by spooning a few tablespoons of jam on each of the custards. Then add a large dollop of meringue to each one. Toast the meringue with a handheld torch or under the broiler of your oven with the rack in the lowest position (don’t take your eyes off the pudding, as the meringue can burn easily). Enjoy immediately.