One of my Twitter buddies asked me the other day whether I had a good malva pudding recipe to share with her. Now, I have eaten many malva puddings since arriving in South Africa three years ago but I am ashamed to admit that I have never actually made one myself. It has been on my “to do” list for a while but for some reason I have never got round to it. Thankfully, that Twitter request gave me a big, fat kick up the backside to do something about it.
For those of you who have never had the pleasure of eating a malva pudding, it is another one of those South African dishes (like milk tart and bobotie) which pops up on menus all over the place. It’s similar to an English sponge pudding – think sticky toffee pudding but a heck of a lot lighter and made with apricot jam. It is probably my most favourite of South Africa’s national dishes – a good malva pudding, as South African ladies are wont to say, is “simply divine.”
Like I did for my bobotie, I had planned to sample several different recipes and come up with my own ultimate incarnation. However, the first malva pudding recipe I tried was so blimmin’ brilliant that there seemed precious little point continuing the search.
The recipe comes from Justin Bonello’s book “Cooked in Africa.” Now if you aren’t South African you probably won’t have the foggiest who Justin Bonello is. In a nutshell, he’s a bit like South Africa’s answer to Jamie Oliver. Blond hair, bit of a wideboy geezer. He did a TV show which as far as I could make out involved going to beautiful places in Africa, surrounded by bikini clad girls, drinking copious amounts of beer and occasionally doing some cooking. Nice work if you can get it.
Anyway, I shall forgive Justin for being a tinsy bit of a prat as his malva pudding recipe really is the bees knees. There was one rather glaring mistake in the printed recipe though – it says to make individual malva puddings and then cook them for forty five minutes to an hour. There must have been many sad faces caused by following this instruction as this is far too long for such teeny puddings. Twenty minutes max is all you need after which the sponge should be a deep golden brown – slightly caramelised on the outside and super light and airy inside. I made half the recipe in a muffin tray (as Justin suggests) and half the recipe in my brand new dariole moulds. The puds in the dariole moulds turned out like a dream whilst conversely, the ones in the non-stick muffin tin stuck a bit. So use dariole moulds if you can. Serve the puds warm with cream, ice-cream or custard. As Justin says, “try this one and you’ll be an addict forever.”
Malva Pudding (adapted from “Cooked in Africa” by Justin Bonello
For the pudding
- ½ cup (125ml) caster sugar
- 1 large egg
- ½ tbsp smooth apricot jam
- 2/3 cup (160ml) plain flour
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- pinch of salt
- 15g butter, melted
- ½ tsp white vinegar
- ¼ cup (60ml) milk
For the glaze
- 1/2 cup (125ml) double cream
- 60g butter
- ¼ cup (60ml) brandy
- ¼ cup (60ml) caster sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas4.
2. Beat the sugar and egg with an electric mixer until light, fluffy and tripled in size. Add the apricot jam and mix again. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, bicarb and salt together and in another bowl, mix the melted butter, vinegar and milk.
3. Alternately add spoonfuls of the dry mix and wet mix into the egg mixture, folding after each addition. Pour the mixture into 4 greased dariole moulds or into 4 cups of a muffin tin. Bake for 15-20 minutes until a deep golden brown and springy to the touch.
4. Whilst the puddings are cooking, heat all the ingredients for the glaze in a small pan, stirring until the sugar and butter have melted. Once the puddings are cooked, turn out on to plates and spoon over the glaze. Serve immediately with cream, ice-cream or custard.