Queen Elizabeth's platinum jubilee: Will the Great British Public come up with a pudding fit for Her Majesty? – Stephen Jardine

According to her former chef, the Queen has a very sweet tooth.

Queen Elizabeth is reportedly fond of the dessert course (Picture: Oli Scarff/WPA pool/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth is reportedly fond of the dessert course (Picture: Oli Scarff/WPA pool/Getty Images)

So it’s no surprise that she has chosen a new pudding to be part of the celebrations for her Platinum Jubilee this year.

What is surprising is the fact that rather than asking the world’s greatest pastry chefs to come up with something fresh, she has instead entrusted the task to the great British public.

To mitigate the risk of the winner being tapioca mixed with Angel Delight and vodka, the royal household has partnered with luxury food store Fortnum and Mason to run the competition based around some hard and fast rules to help steer Her Majesty’s subjects.

The guidance emphasises the new pudding must be easily made at home and worthy of such a grand occasion. For reference, entrants are pointed towards puddings of the past with the emphasis on boiled, steamed and baked varieties as well as custards and jellies with the final decision on the winner resting with the judges who include Mary Berry and Monica Galletti.

At a time like this, it’s great to see puddings getting the spotlight they deserve. Shunned by the sugar police, in recent years they’ve been in retreat in the face of yoghurts, sorbets and granitas. However in the teeth of a pandemic and with the cold January wind blowing from the north, what the nation needs right now is a good proper pud, preferably served with custard.

The Guardian this week predictably proposed a ‘Tofu Reine Elizabeth’ which would underline “the ecological effects of how damaging meat and dairy is to the world”. Perhaps they missed the bit about it being “easily made at home and worthy of such a grand occasion”. Of course, no one would want to make that never mind eat it but top marks as ever for virtue signalling.

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What we really need is something we will all want to make and eat and, on that basis, we shouldn’t stray too far from what already works. From treacle tart and sticky toffee pudding to clootie dumpling and Eton mess, we have a fabulous heritage of puddings that have been enjoyed for generations and they can provide the inspiration for something fresh.

Earlier this week Great British Bake Off contestant Michael Chakraverty told me: “The secret is to keep it simple and easy. Stick with the classics but add a twist that reflects all the different cultures that make up Britain.”

Just as Coronation Chicken brought the flavours of India to the 1953 banquet that marked Elizabeth taking the throne, so 2022 gives us a chance to adjust a dessert we all know and love to reflect the country we are today.

How about a ‘Coronation Crumble’, perhaps with coconut cream and ginger to bring the tastes of the Queen’s beloved Commonwealth to the Platinum Jubilee banquet? Entries for the competition must be in by the start of February.

However I’m still worried about the fact that this great task has been entrusted to us, the very people who decided the best name for a new polar research vessel was Boaty McBoatface.

So whatever happens, please don’t cheapen things by nominating puddings called Spotted Andrew, Harry Ginger Sponge, Camilla Snooty Dumpling or Edward Trifle (dense with fruit). That would be childish. And hilarious.

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