Rhubarb and Ginger Queen of Puddings

It’s hard to think of a better pudding to have for Sunday Lunch.  Unashamedly old fashioned, Queen of Puddings here is given a seasonal twist by using fresh rhubarb and syrupy stem ginger instead of jam   There is something intensively satisfying about soft, creamy custard thickened with crumbs topped with rhubarb and ginger and finished off with toasty meringue  It has some of the best elements of favourite puddings – creme brûlée, iles flotantes, lemon meringue pie and rhubarb and custard  it’s a real winner

There seems to be various stories around how this pudding got its name. Perhaps it was because Queen Victoria remarked on it on a trip to Manchester (it was previously called Manchester pudding apparently). Maybe it’s because the meringue looked like a crown when piped on top. Nobody seems to know for sure so you can choose!

My Grandmother made this pudding to use up the leftover bread and milk  Given that this particular side of the family is of Scottish descent I expect the fact it used both the yolks and whites of eggs also appealed   She always made it with jam as she also had her homeland’s notorious sweet tooth – though if you use fresh fruit it really cuts through this and the fact you can vary the fruit from season to season makes this pudding so versatile.

If after all this you need a reason to make Queen of Puddings just do it because it’s delicious.

Ingredients (serves 6-8)

  • 140g brioche/bread or Madeira cake
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 lemon, zest only finely grated
  • 300ml whole milk
  • 100ml double cream
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 500g rhubarb, cut into 4cm long pieces
  • 4 balls stem ginger, finely chopped
  • 2tbsp ginger syrup from jar

Filling of rhubarb, sugar and chopped stem ginger


  1. Heat oven to 140c
  2. Blitz bread/brioche/Madeira cake in food processor until it is fine crumbs.  Put into 22cm baking dish
  3. Warm milk, cream and pour over crumbs. Leave for 10 mins before whisking in egg yolks, 50g sugar and lemon zest.
  4. Bake for 40-45 mins until custard is set but still has a little wobble
  5. To make filling, put rhubarb, 100g sugar, stem ginger and syrup with 2tbsp water in large saucepan. Stir and cook for 15-20 mins until rhubarb is soft
  6. Leave both rhubarb and set custard to cool  (at this point you can put both in fridge and continue the next day if it suits you)
  7. Turn the oven to 180c
  8. Whip egg whites to soft peak stage and then slowly add remaining 100g sugar, whipping between each addition until meringue is shiny and glossy and is in stiff peaks
  9. Drain rhubarb,  reserving syrup, and spoon it onto baked custard.  Swirl over the meringue right to the edges and bake for 15-20 mins until meringue is lightly browned
  10. Serve hot or warm with reserved syrup.


  1. Hi hi Rosie! This looks luscious! I like the name– Queen of puddings. It makes you feel special to be eating it!! And sweet to have a recipe from your mother. I love the recipes we’ve handed down in the family. And love the photo of the finished dessert with the browned top. So pretty! Hug hugs from here!

    • Lickthespoon says:

      It is a very old fashioned recipe and easy though you mustn’t overlook the custard if you want it to be extra delish! I rather like imagining Queen Victoria enjoying it though the version she had was with a jar of raspberry jam rather than the rhubarb. It’s lovely that such an unassuming pudding got Royal approval!!
      How’s everything going with all of you? Are you reading anything good?

      • Hi Rosie– Yes, I’d like to imagine Queen Victoria with her pudding! I’ve read a couple biographies of her and now am entranced with the BBC version we get to see here. Just finished a book I really loved– not fiction– but by a doctor who teaches at Harvard, called Being Mortal. It sounds grim, but he talks about making choices for care at the end of life that allow the best quality of days for older people. He uses lots of stories and research facts. It really was fascinating because we have parents in their 80′ & 90’s and want the very best for them. So worthwhile. OK, off to check on dinner (simmering in a pot). It’s always so fun to hear from you!! hugs!

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