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This nursery pud is a classic, and a great way to turn some leftover bread and a few store cupboard staples into a real treat.
Heat your oven to 180°C/gas 4. Butter 6 ramekins or individual heatproof glass dishes, 10cm in diameter.Divide the breadcrumbs between them, scattering them evenly.Put the milk in a saucepan. Split open the vanilla pod with a small, sharp knife and scrape out the seeds with the tip of the knife. Add both the seeds and the pod to the saucepan. Slowly bring the milk just to the boil, then take off the heat.Whisk the sugar, egg and egg yolks together in a bowl. Pour on the hot milk and whisk well. Strain this into a jug.Pour the custard into the prepared dishes, dividing it equally.Stand the dishes in a large roasting dish and pour in enough hot water to come about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes, or until the custards are set. Remove from the roasting tin and allow to cool.Return them to the emptied out roasting tin.If your jam is very stiff, beat it to soften, or heat it slightly. When the custards are cool, spread the jam over them.For the meringue topping, whisk the egg whites with an electric whisk, or using a mixer with a whisk attachment, until they hold stiff peaks. Beat in the sugar a spoonful at a time, until you have a fluffy meringue that holds stiff peaks.Spoon the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm nozzle and pipe it on top of the jam-topped custards. Bake for 10–15 minutes, until the meringue is golden, then serve straight away.
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