Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Blueberry Boy Bait

Aromatic custardy sponge, sweet gooey fruit and meringue, sugar-crisped - boy-bait Brit-style.' - Nigella Lawson

I'm assuming there's some corny story behind the notion of a boy bait pudding. To me it screams 1950s America with girls baking this dish for the dream boy they longed for. A quick google search told me the dish dated back to the 1920s, although Nigella says it was the result of a teenage girl's entry for a baking contest. Anyone know for sure?

Either way, it seemed appropriate as a dessert to cook on a night when we were having a celebratory, romantic night in. Sean got steak with blue cheese sauce for mains, then blueberry boy bait for dessert.

The way to his heart? I think so.

The Verdict
I had two enormous servings of this marvel. My God. I'd say 'words defy me' but let's face it. We all know that would be a lie.

I have to say I was curious to make this pudding, but more than a little skeptical. A base of eggs, milk and breadcrumbs? I was imagining a gooey, sodden lump. Oh no, no. I was so wrong. This one's a winner in every sense.

So what is it? It's, as I said, a base of breadcrumbs, egg yolks (5), caster sugar and milk. You bake that layer first while preparing the fruit and meringue. You make a jammy mix of blueberries for the middle layer and top it off with sweet (very sweet) fluffy egg whites. Heaven.

Unusual or substituted ingredients
I was skeptical about a base made by mixing fresh breadcrumbs into milk and eggs. Nothing unusual about those ingredients as such, but the combination made me unsure. I needn't have been. They're like a bready cake at the bottom and not overly sweet (unlike the rest of it!).

I used frozen blueberries instead of fresh. No problem there.

And don't be put off by the meringue top layer. I've never made meringue before but there's nothing to it, I now know.

Special Utensils or Cookware
Nope. Nothing in particular. As long as you can blitz bread for fresh breadcrumbs, you're going to be fine.

You know what? I'd do this for a dinner party with friends or again for just us on a weekend. It's old fashioned and amazingly so. It's a pudding in every sense of the word. I'd probably cut back on the sugar though next time. It's intensely sweet. Especially the bucketloads that are added to the blueberry mix in the middle. That's just blueberries, lemon and sugar. Cut back a little on the sugar there and in the meringue, and it's perfect.

Oh boy. You can't beat it. Decadent and delicious - and it's got real fruit in it so it can't be all bad!

Overall pleasure level
An absolute delight. Sean loved it. He gave it an 8 out of 10. That slightly crispy, golden meringue topping is the real surprise. I didn't expect that to turn out nearly so well.

And around the edges, later, when you're supposed to have finished gorging yourself, those extra crispy edge bits....well, there weren't many of those left!