queen’s pudding or queen of puddings, as the name of a pudding, seems not to have a very long history. As a dish, however, it apparently goes back to the 17th century. Sir Kenelm digby (1669) gave a recipe for a dish like modern queen’s pudding: breadcrumbs combined with milk and egg yolks, part baked, and then topped with jam and meringue made from the whites and baked until done.
What queen may have been involved or how is unclear. There is a recipe for ‘Queen Pudding’ in Garrett (c.1895); but it is not the same as queen’s pudding above. This same book does, however, have a recipe for Manchester Pudding, which matches one given by Mrs beeton (1861) and may provide a clue. A Manchester pudding has a layer of puff pastry at the bottom of the dish and does not have a meringue topping. Otherwise it is more or less the same as queen’s pudding and indeed Helen Pollard (1991) says that it is simply a variation of queen’s pudding. This evidence perhaps suggests that queen’s pudding received its name at about the beginning of the 20th century; and at that time there was only one queen who could have inspired the name (no doubt after commenting favourably on a helping of Manchester pudding, possibly in the course of a royal visit to that city) and that of course was Queen Victoria.