The Queen's Platinum Jubilee
Thursday, May 19
This year marks The Queen's Platinum Jubilee, the first ever British Monarch to celebrate 70 years on the throne.
The 2nd February officially marked The Queen's 70 years of service to the people of the United Kingdom, the Realms and the Commonwealth.
From 2nd - 5th June, a number of special events will be held to celebrate The Queen's reign, in the UK and beyond, being referred to as The Queen's Platinum Jubilee Central Weekend. These four days of celebrations will include public events and community activities, as well as national moments of reflection on The Queen's time serving.
One event in particular is especially sweet and right up our street. Introducing, The Platinum Pudding Competition!
In honour of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, Fortnum & Mason invited all UK residents to take part in this nationwide competition, whereby they invent and submit their own pudding creation for the Jubilee.
The Platinum Pudding Competition was open to all individuals, families, school classes, community groups, companies and other entities.
The 4th February was the final day to submit entries for the competition, with three rounds of judging taking place throughout the month to narrow down the pool to five finalists. These finalists were then invited to attend the live final the week commencing the 14th March.
The puddings have been reviewed by a panel of expert judges comprising award-winning bakers, professional chefs, authors, historians and pastry chefs, including Dame Mary Berry and Buckingham Palace Head Chef Mark Flanaghan.
Preparing a Pudding
But what is considered a pudding? According to culinary author and historian Regula Ysewijn, the word has become synonymous with 'dessert' in the UK. However, that doesn't mean that all puddings are desserts. And to complicate matter further, all desserts are technically puddings. Regula's book Pride and Pudding does a great job at breaking what this all means down into bite-sized chunks of information, so lets take a look...
Early British puddings were usually made with meat, blood or entirely from rice, spelt or other grains stuffed into some kind of intestine or cloth bag and boiled. These puddings nearly lost all their meat content when candied fruits, fortified wines and liqueurs were introduced, which led to steaming them in a basin or mould becoming the preferred method over boiling. Today 's steamed puddings are very different of course, typically made from a sponge or fruitcake batter and made in large moulds or small individual ones. And although savoury options still exist (think haggis and blood pudding), these are not what you would associate with the modern sense of the word.
Then we go into more common, everyday territory: baked puddings. These are puddings where the mixture or batter is placed in a tin or tray. Today, most tarts and pies are also considered to be puddings because they fit into the dessert category. This is similar to bread puddings, which are often baked and made with bread as a primary ingredient. In a bread pudding, the bread is usually, but not always, left whole and often acts like a crust encasing some kind of cream or egg mixture or fruit.
There's also a few more types of pudding that the competition would deem appropriate, such as batter puddings, milk puddings and even jellies. So, steamed or baked? Layered or rolled? Pie or crumble? Cake or tart? It's open to interpretation, but one thing's for sure, a pudding has to be sweet!
History in the Making
The winning pudding will go down in history and be an important part of celebrating the first ever Platinum Jubilee. The winner will receive the coveted The Platinum Pudding Competition trophy and will be invited to be at the centre of the celebrations.
And that's not all. The recipe will be gifted to The Queen and the public, with Fortnum & Mason and The Big Jubilee Lunch encouraging people to make the pudding at home to enjoy with family, friends and their local community.
What better way to celebrate this historic milestone than with something sweet! Whether you're celebrating at home, with friends and family or are hosting your own street party, make sure you've got the flags and bunting ready to go and get creative with a pudding of your own.
If you're in need of more inspiration, don't forget there's plenty of recipes you can check out on the Cakes & Sugarcraft website, as well as within the magazine! You can find more details about the Platinum Jubilee Pudding Competition on the Fortnum & Mason website.