No mere trifle: amateur baker creates ‘platinum pudding’ fit for the Queen
A copywriter’s recipe for a lemon swiss roll and amaretti trifle will become part of British food history after it was awarded the title of “platinum pudding” for the Queen’s jubilee celebrations.
Jemma Melvin, 31, from Southport, beat off competition from four other finalists in the Fortnum & Mason platinum pudding competition to take the title. Her trifle follows in the footsteps of coronation chicken, serving as a long-lasting reminder of the 96-year-old monarch’s reign.
Earlier this year, Fortnum & Mason challenged the UK to create a recipe fulfilling the criteria of being fit for a queen. Requirements included a memorable story, the perfect taste and a recipe simple enough for home bakers.
The winner was finally announced on BBC One’s The Jubilee Pudding: 70 Years in the Baking on Thursday night, after a unanimous decision by a panel of judges including Dame Mary Berry and the chef Monica Galetti.
Melvin’s trifle, consisting of lemon curd swiss roll on the bottom, St Clement’s jelly, lemon custard, amaretti biscuits, mandarin coulis, fresh whipped cream, candied peel, chocolate shards and crushed amaretti biscuits on top, wowed judges at the first mouthful.
Responding to her triumph, Melvin said the first thing she had to do was tell her grandmother. “She is the person that taught me how to bake and I am so excited to tell her. She’s going to be so proud, I can’t wait,” she said.
“I am so happy, thank you so much, Mary. It’s been an honour as well to have your feedback. It’s just meant the world to me. The thought of people recreating my pudding, especially round the jubilee, is just a total pleasure.”
The Duchess of Cornwall, patron of the Big Jubilee Lunch, was a surprise special guest and announced the winning recipe. Dame Mary, chair of the judging panel, called it “absolutely wonderful”. She added: “I think Britain is going to be so delighted and the Queen, too.”
Galetti said: “I love lemon and sometimes people hold back, and they’re scared to put that lemon into it, and as you’re eating it you’re thinking, ‘oh it can’t get any better’. I got chunks of the amaretti biscuit that have soaked up the cream and they’re chewy and I am so happy right now.”
Melvin, who has baked since the age of six, said she was inspired by her gran and her nan. “My gran is with us but sadly my nan is not, they are both extremely important to me. My gran taught me how to bake but my nan’s signature dish was a trifle. A wonderful, poised lady, just like our queen, she used to make a wonderful trifle, but hers was laced with sherry and decorated with kiwifruit and flaked chocolate but this trifle is elevated and fit for the Queen herself.”
Melvin, who lives with her long-term partner, James, and their rescue-dog, Bella, said she found out that the Queen had lemon posset at her wedding and decided her pudding had to be based on a lemon flavour.
“My gran and my nan, they very much liked lemon as well, so it all just slotted into place. I think it’ll be perfect for jubilee celebrations as it’s refreshing for summer,” she said. “It can also be made in a large dish or in individual portions – whichever you’d prefer.”
There were nearly 5,000 entries to the competition, coming in from Land’s End to Duncansby Head. A shortlist of 50 was judged “blind” – purely by recipe alone – until five bakers were announced as finalists. Melvin faced off strong competition from her fellow finalists, Kathryn, Sam, Shabnam and Susan.
Fortnum & Mason’s executive pastry chef and judge, Roger Pizey, said: “I really think we’ll be making Jemma’s trifle for at least the next 50 to 100 years, without a doubt.”
The company will support the Big Jubilee Lunch from 2-5 June, giving the winning platinum pudding recipe to the country alongside expert baking tips.
All profits from the sale of the pudding in Fortnum & Mason shops will be donated to two UK charities: Centrepoint and the Big Jubilee Lunch, part of the Eden Project.