Malva Pudding Recipe

Malva Pudding Recipe

Malva Pudding is the type of desert we’d call a ‘winter warmer’ here in the UK.  Best served dressed in custard it’s the ultimate comfort food for chilly winter nights.  It’s the kind of pudding that a serving spoon glides through with little effort, catching all the delicious, jammy toffee crust at its hilt. It’s similar to our steamed sponge puddings but it’s baked and has a deep-set aerated sponge with a sticky syrup topping. Its origins are believed to be Dutch and takes its name from Madeira’s Malvasia wine grape – both served after the main course at tables in the Cape.

I’m sharing this recipe courtesy of Natalie Dicey who lives in South Africa’s Western Cape.  A most generous hostess and matriarch of La Plaisante Estate where her family grow tons of pears – many of which end up on our supermarket shelves.  Their housekeeper has cooked this dish since Natalie’s husband, Nicholas, was a child and I wager it’s a recipe that’s been handed down from generation to generation.  I tried her version which is absolutely delicious but just a bit too sweet for me so I’ve reduced her original sugar weight by 100g and taken out the extra 1 tsp vanilla essence she uses for the sauce, and it works perfectly.

This serves between 6-8 and is just as good the next day. If you don’t fancy custard cream, ice cream will work as well.

malva pudding

Takes about 20 minutes to prepare


For the sponge:

250g self-raising flour

150g caster sugar

30g butter

1 egg

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon of Bicarbonate of Soda

250ml milk

1 teaspoon of decent vanilla essence

1 tablespoon golden syrup

For the sauce:

115g butter

100g caster sugar

250ml double cream

125ml water


Heat oven to 170 degrees (fan) or gas mark 3.

Mix all the ingredients to form a thin batter, pretty easy when you’re using a Titanium Chef but if you haven’t, an electric whisk will do the job.  Tip in a square tin (I used a Lakeland 18cm x 8cm (7″ x 3″)) and covered with greased foil.  This is pretty important because if you don’t, you’ll lose the delicious crusty top as it will most certainly stick to your batter (especially so if you are using a fan oven).  This happened to me because I tried to cut the greased foil corner and I lost.  Bake for 40 to 50 minutes on the top shelf until the pudding is firm to the touch.

Take out of oven and prick all over.

Bring the butter, sugar and water to the boil and simmer. stirring constantly for 2 minutes.

Remove from the heat and add the cream and the vanilla. Pour over the hot baked pudding.

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Serve with custard or decent vanilla ice cream.

As Natalie told me on the night we met this dish is just as delicious eaten hot or cold.

I took some into the office the next day and my colleagues ate it without custard and couldn’t get enough of it.

Minimal effort, maximum reward.  Now who doesn’t like the sound of that?

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