Almost seven decades on from the invention of coronation chicken, members of the public have been invited to suggest a dessert celebrating the Queen’s 70-year reign.
Fortnum & Mason has launched a competition for people to come up with ideas for the Platinum Pudding. The contest will be judged by a panel including baking royals such as Dame Mary Berry.
Guardian readers were asked to send in their ideas via a callout for what they think the new dish should be – from Eton messes to a vegetarian-friendly version of Poulet Reine Elizabeth.
For neurologist Ian Coyle-Gilchrist, the right pudding to mark the Queen’s 70-year reign has a degree of historical significance. Coyle-Gilchrist, 38, would give the prize to drop scones.
“The Queen wrote to President Eisenhower in 1960 with her recipe for drop scones [which he apparently particularly enjoyed, according to a Guardian report],” said the 38-year-old from Foxton in Cambridgeshire.
While he has made scones before – though “not for a very long time” – Coyle-Gilchrist says he is not really a baker himself, and doesn’t have a recipe to hand. However, he chose the dish because he thinks that “a reliable and traditional recipe represents the Queen rather well”.
“The fact that it has been used effectively to represent the Commonwealth in international diplomacy makes it even more fitting,” Coyle-Gilchrist adds.
For amateur baker Julie M Palmer, 59, a “reimagining of a traditional trifle” for the summer months is the perfect choice. Palmer, a marketing and communications executive in East Ayrshire, goes for a trifle because she says “it’s something that can be made by anyone”.
“I’m thinking a reimagining of a traditional trifle: a Victoria sponge recipe for the bottom soaked in champagne, a layer of strawberry mousse, an apple jelly layer, a pea-flavoured custard and Italian meringue piped on top,” Palmer says, adding that the champagne could be swapped for English sparkling wine.
The 59-year-old says she’s chosen the “fresh and sweet” flavours “to evoke memories of a summer’s day” as the Queen will be celebrating in June. Palmer, who started baking in 2019, says it is her “dream to appear on the Great British Bake Off” but adds that she’s “not quite there yet”.
She says she has only ever made a traditional sherry trifle before, but she’s going to have to give this recipe a go.
James Henry Mills in Stourbridge said his pudding of choice would be Eton mess. “Let’s face it, our current political situation is a mess,” said the 77-year-old retiree. “The PM is an Eton boy and Eton tends to churn out our leaders who over the years have made a right mess of things.”
Mills said he is one of the people who remembers the Queen’s coronation but is coming round more to the idea that “she’s becoming increasingly irrelevant”.
“Why do we need a pudding anyway? I appreciate she brings a great wealth of good feeling in the country because of her long reign, but I think it’s better to get rid of the whole self-serving structure, including all these lords and ladies.”
While it definitely wouldn’t make it past the pudding criteria Fortnum & Mason has outlined on its website, the suggestion from Rebecca Taylor, a 36-year-old nurse in York, felt like a sign of the times.
“I used to love coronation chicken but now I make coronation tofu,” she says. “Whatever it is it should be made from sustainable ingredients which don’t have a detrimental effect on climate change.”
Taylor, who has been vegan for three years, says was important that the winning prize was “something delicious, allergen free and easy to make so it is accessible for all”.
Since embracing a plant-based diet after visiting a dairy farm, she has become “more aware of the ecological effects of how damaging meat and dairy is to world”, stressing the importance of making “sustainable choices while still enjoying food”.
And Christine Elaine Daviesma from Macclesfield in Cheshire suggested banana loaf because “weren’t we all making them during lockdown?”
Daviesma, 62, said her first thought when she was thinking of a suggestion was “everyone pulling together”. “We all love the Queen and we’ve all had a bit of a difficult time the last two years, so why not a banana loaf?
“They’re quite easy to make and it’s a good way to use those horrible bananas that turn black when they’ve been left out too long. I just make the recipe up as I go along but it’s something we can all make together.”