The recipe makes 12 large meringue cookies. We like the appearance of one meringue on top of each serving, but if you want to go all out, by all means include a second one. If not, enjoy the extras with a cup of tea.
Note: The meringues must be made at least 2 hours and up to 2 weeks in advance. They can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. The pudding needs to chill for at least 4 hours; it improves in texture after an overnight rest in the refrigerator. Adapted from "Abbey Cooks Entertain," by Pamela Foster (Pamela Powered, Kindle, $7.95).
For the meringues:
4 large egg whites at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup superfine sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the pudding:
Unsalted butter, for greasing the casserole dish
2 cups nonfat milk
2/3 cup superfine sugar
4 large egg yolks, plus 1 whole egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups plain fresh bread crumbs
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons (about 2 tablespoons)
3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
1 pint raspberries
Superfine sugar, for sprinkling
For the meringues:
Place racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 300 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
Beat the egg whites on high speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Once the egg whites are foamy, add the cream of tartar and beat until the whites hold soft peaks, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar a little at a time, beating until the meringue is shiny and holds very stiff peaks, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract.
Test to make sure the meringue is ready by rubbing a little between your thumb and finger. When it is no longer gritty, you are good to go.
Create six equal-size mounds of meringue on each baking sheet. You can swirl the tops with a spoon or pipe the meringue through a bag fitted with a large star tip.
Transfer the baking sheets to the oven, reduce the heat to 275 degrees and bake for 60 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from front to back and top to bottom halfway through. The meringues are done when they are pale and fairly crisp, and sound hollow when gently tapped on the bottom.
Turn off the oven, open the door a crack and leave the meringues in the oven for at least another hour to dry.
For the pudding:
Boil a kettle of water. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Grease a large casserole dish with butter.
Pour the milk into a medium saucepan and slowly bring it to a boil over medium heat.
Combine the sugar, 4 egg yolks and 1 whole egg in a medium bowl, whisking until the mixture is light and creamy. Temper the egg-sugar mixture by adding a little bit of the hot milk while whisking constantly, to keep the eggs from scrambling.
Gradually whisk that egg-sugar mixture into the hot milk. Strain the hot milk mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding any solids. Stir in the vanilla extract, fresh bread crumbs and lemon zest, and combine well.
Pour the pudding mixture into the casserole dish, place in a roasting pan and transfer to the oven. Fill the roasting pan with enough boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the dish. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Keep checking until the pudding is almost set, yet still slightly wobbly in the center. Remove the dish from the water bath and place it on a wire rack to cool. Cover the cooled custard with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours and preferably overnight.
Melt the jam in a small saucepan over low heat. (Alternatively, place the jam in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave on medium for 30 seconds. Stop and stir well. If necessary, continue to microwave the jam on medium at 10-second intervals until it has reached a fluid consistency.) Just before serving, place scoops of the pudding on six individual serving plates. (You can use a ring mold or biscuit cutter for a cleaner round shape.) Top with the melted jam, the 6 most presentable-looking meringues and fresh raspberries.
Sprinkle the superfine sugar over each portion.
Per serving (using one meringue per pudding): 380 calories, 8 g protein, 79 g carbohydrates, 5 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 175 mg cholesterol, 160 mg sodium, 4 g dietary fiber, 64 g sugar