My custard base for the queen of puddings isn't setting enough to hold the jam layer after the recommended first bake of 30 minutes at 325°F. How can I fix this?
Nigella's Queen Of Puddings (from AT MY TABLE) is a deluxe version of the traditional British pudding, using brioche instead of the usual regular breadcrumbs. The breadcrumbs are mixed with a milk and egg combination, which sets to a soft custard as the dish cooks.
The custard and breadcrumb layer gets an initial 30 minutes in the oven before jam and meringue layers are added. After the first 30 minutes the custard will not be fully set, you just need the top to firm up enough to be able to add the jam layer. The custard will continue to cook and set when the meringue bakes. There could be a couple of reasons why it is still a little soft, but it is most likely that it just needs an extra 5 minutes or so in the oven as all ovens vary. So put the dish back in the oven for 5 minutes and check the dish again and continue like this until the custard has just set on top but is jiggly underneath. If the jam is too firm to spread then warm it gently with the lemon juice in a small saucepan until it is runny enough to spread evenly, and as Nigella mentions, spread it with the "lightest touch", or alternatively drizzle it evenly over the crumb custard.