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Irish Coffee Dessert

Traditional Irish coffee is a cocktail consisting of hot coffee, Irish whiskey, and sugar, stirred, and topped with thick cream. The coffee is drunk through the cream.  This variation has similar ingredients, but it is in the form of a set dessert. Definitely worth a try! The popular alcoholic drink, Irish Coffee, was created in the winter of 1943 by Chef Joe Sheridan. The story goes that he whipped up something special to drink for a group of cold and weary passengers who were waiting for a flight at the Foynes Airbase in Ireland. Apparently silence descended on the group as everyone enjoyed this delectable concoction.

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Crêpes Suzette

Crêpe Suzette is one of the most popular and well-known French desserts. So much so that National Crêpe Suzette Day is celebrated annually on the 6th of May. Crêpe Suzette consists of crêpes (pancakes) with an orange sauce. It is served flambé.   The crêpes can be made in advance or if you are pressed for time, use shop-bought crêpes. You can even use South African Pancakes to make Crêpe Suzette! If you like the combination of orange and alcohol, be sure to also try my recipe for Duck à l’Orange!

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Floating Islands


This impressive French dessert, also known as Snow Eggs, consists of delicate meringue clouds that rest in a sea of crème anglaise (French for “English cream”), a light pouring custard used as a dessert cream or sauce.  Be sure to also try Carolie’s Poached Meringue on Golden Gooseberry Custard.

Crème anglaise
500 ml fullcream milk
6 to 8 large egg yolks
125 ml white sugar
1 vanilla bean

6 to 8 large egg whites, at room temperature
65 g white sugar
pinch of salt

150 g white sugar
45 ml water

  1. To make the crème anglaise, combine the milk and sugar in a medium saucepan.
  2. Split the ½ vanilla bean lengthwise then scrape out the seeds and put them, and the pod, into the milk.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. (Use six if you want a standard custard sauce, eight if you prefer it extra-rich.)
  4. Make an ice bath by nesting a medium size metal bowl in a large bowl filled with ice and a little cold water. Set a mesh strainer over the top.
  5. Heat the milk until steaming. Whisk some of the warmed milk mixture into the egg yolks, then scrape the warmed yolks back into the saucepan.
  6. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom, sides, and corners of the pan, until the custard is thick enough to coat the spatula. Don’t let the mixture boil.
  7. Immediately strain the custard through the mesh strainer into the chilled bowl.
  8. Remove out the vanilla pod, wipe off any bits of egg on it, and return it to the warm custard. Stir the crème anglaise to help cool it down. Once cool, refrigerate.
  9. To make the meringues, line a baking sheet lined with a clean tea towel or paper towels.
  10. In a large, wide saucepan or casserole, fill it about halfway with water and heat it until it comes to a lively simmer.
  11. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment at medium speed, or by hand with a whisk, whip the egg whites with the salt until they are foamy.
  12. Increase the speed of the mixer (or your whipping, with the whisk) until the egg whites begin to start holding their shape.
  13. Whip in the 1/3 cup sugar, one tablespoon at a time, until the whites hold their shape when you lift the whip. Do not overwhip or the meringues will be dry.
  14. Using two large soup spoons, scoop up a generous amount of the meringue onto one spoon – it should be heaped up so high that it threatens to fall off – then take the second spoon to scrape it off, dropping the oval of meringue into the simmering water.
  15. Don’t crowd too many into the pot; they should be allowed to float freely. Doing six at a time is usually a good number.
  16. Plan on getting sixteen meringues from the egg whites, total. But don’t worry if you don’t; two makes a good portion for some people, others want three.
  17. Poach the meringues for 3 to 4 minutes, then flip each one with a slotted spoon, and poach for another 3 to 4 minutes.
  18. Remove the meringues with a slotted spoon and put them on the lined baking sheet. Poach the remaining meringues.
  19. When all the meringues have been poached, pour the crème anglaise into a large, wide, chilled bowl.
  20. Nest the meringues close together on the top, floating them in the crème anglaise.
  21. To make the caramel, heat the sugar and water in a skillet, swirling it as little as possible, if necessary, so it cooks evenly, until it turns a medium amber color.
  22. Turn off the heat and use a spoon to drizzle the caramel over the meringues.

6 servings

Do-ahead notes: You can make the crème anglaise up to three days in advance and refrigerate it. The meringues can be made the same day of serving and refrigerated as well. The caramel is best made and drizzled at the last minute although can be done 1 to 4 hours ahead. The longer you let it sit on the dessert in the refrigerator, the more it will soften and become sticky. A few hours usually is fine, though. No part of this dessert can be frozen.

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Raspberry Clafoutis


Clafoutis (pronounced kla-foo-tee), is a classic French dessert and is quick, easy and simply delicious!  It is France’s best kept secret. Clafoutis recipes call for nothing more than what most of us have on hand in the kitchen, plus some fresh fruit. The clafoutis comes from the Limousin region of France, and while black cherries are traditionally used, there are numerous variations using other fruits, including red cherries, plums, raspberries or blackberries.  When other kinds of fruit are used instead of cherries, the dish is properly called a flaugnarde.

300 g fresh cherries, pitted
1 medium lemon, zest only, finely chopped
100 ml cake flour
45 ml castor sugar
3 large eggs
450 ml milk
5 ml vanilla essence
icing sugar to dust

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190 º C.
  2. Combine the flour and sugar in a medium mixing bowl and stir in a little of the milk to prevent lumps.
  3. Add the rest of the milk, the eggs and the vanilla essence and beat by hand until well blended. Grease a 20 cm square oven-proof dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Spoon the cherries into the bottom of the dish and sprinkle with the lemon zest.
  5. Gently pour the batter into the dish.
  6. Bake for about 40 minutes or until firm and golden brown on top and a metal skewer or toothpick inserted into the middle of the Clafoutis comes out clean.
  7. Dust with icing sugar and serve hot, at room temperature or cold.

6 to 8 servings.

If fresh raspberries, blueberries or cherries are not available, use sour cherries.  I have used Goldcrest with great success.  Drain the juice and reduce it to make a sauce.

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Poached Meringue on Golden Gooseberry Custard

A divinely-textured creation which will leave guests speechless and eyes firmly focussed on the dessert!  Also see my recipe for Floating Islands.

3 large egg whites
pinch cream of tartar
125 ml   castor sugar
400 ml milk
1 ml  vanilla essence

Gooseberry custard
1 x 410g tin gooseberries
50 ml cornflour (Maizena)
30 ml white sugar
pinch salt
350 ml milk, reserved from poaching, made up with additional milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
250 ml cream
30 ml white sugar
toasted flaked almonds
additional gooseberries (optional)

  1. Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until peaks form and gradually beat in the castor sugar to form a very stiff meringue.
  2. Use two spoons to scoop out neat egg-shaped portions of meringue and place a few at a time onto the hot milk to poach.
  3. Turn over after 2 minutes and take care that the milk does not boil.
  4. Leave 2 minutes more and lift out with a perforated spoon.  Place into a large colander to drain while poaching the remaining meringue.
  5. Refrigerate in a covered container for a few hours or until required.
  6. Liquidise the gooseberries with syrup until smooth and strain into a saucepan through a fine sieve, rubbing with the back of a spoon until only the seeds remain.  Bring to boil.
  7. Combine the cornflour, sugar, salt and milk and stir into the boiling mixture.
  8. Bring to boil while stirring. Add a little of the hot mixture to the eggs and mix well.
  9. Stir into the saucepan and cook over low heat while stirring continuously until the sauce starts to thicken. Remove from heat and stir a while longer.
  10. Cool and refrigerate.
  11. Beat the cream and sugar until stiff and spoon about 1/2 of the whipped cream into a piping bag to make rosettes.
  12. Add the remaining cream to the gooseberry custard and fold together until evenly blended.
  13. To serve, pour the gooseberry custard into a large wide glass bowl of a suitable size or onto individual serving plates.
  14. Spoon the drained poached meringues onto the custard, garnish with cream rosettes and sprinkle with a few flaked almonds and gooseberries if used.

6 to 8 servings.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster from Art Of Cooking p. 560.

Floating Islands

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Mango Ice-cream

The cool refreshing ice-cream  is a good way to end a summer time meal especially when mangoes are in season.

3 medium-sized mangoes, peeled and stoned
1 cup (250 ml) sugar
2 very fresh eggs, separated
1 cup (250 ml)  cream

To serve
fresh or tinned passion fruit

  1. Blend the flesh of the mangoes with 1/3 of the sugar until quite smooth
  2. Beat the egg yolks and 1/3 of the sugar very well until thick and pale yellow.
  3. Beat the egg whites until just stiff and gradually beat in the last 1/3 of the  sugar to make a stiff meringue.
  4. Beat the cream until stiff and gently stir the three mixtures until evenly combined.
  5. Pour into a container with a lid, suitable for freezing.
  6. Freeze the ice-cream at least 6 hours or preferably overnight until completely frozen.
  7. Serve as is or with passion fruit.

About 2 liters or 10 to 12 servings.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster from Art Of Cooking p. 536.

Mango ice-cream-2

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Blueberry Buttermilk Bake

This cake batter can be prepared the night before and stored in the fridge in a Tupperware container with a lid.  Remove the batter from the fridge 30 minutes before you want to bake it and transfer it to a greased ovenproof dish.

125 g unsalted butter, room temperature
the zest from 1 orange or lemon, finely chopped
125 ml white sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
5 ml vanilla extract
500 ml cake flour
5 ml baking powder
5 ml salt
500 ml fresh blueberries
125 ml buttermilk

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and grease a 20 cm square ovenproof dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Cream the butter, orange or lemon zest and the sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.
  4. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a second mixing bowl and add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk.
  5. Stir in the blueberries and spoon the batter into the dish.
  6. Sprinkle 15 ml sugar on top of the batter and bake for 35 minutes.
  7. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick. It should come out clean.  If necessary, return the dish to oven.
  8. When cooked, remove the dish from the oven and set it aside to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

6 to 8 servings.

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Milk Jelly

This light dessert can easily be adapted to the type of event you are making it for by using smaller moulds for individual portions or a large mould.

1 liter milk
200 ml sugar
30 ml gelatine
100 ml water
1 ml salt
2.5 ml flavouring, e.g. vanilla essence, almond essence, etc.
a few drops food colouring (optional)

  1. Heat the milk and sugar in a medium saucepan.  Do not let the milk boil!
  2. Stir with a large spoon to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Measure the gelatine with a 30 ml measuring cup and transfer it to a heatproof measuring jug with a 500 ml capacity.
  4. Add the water and gelatine to a measuring jug and microwave it on Medium for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until the gelatine is melted.
  5. Add the gelatine mixture to the milk.
  6. Add the salt, flavouring and colouring and taste. Add more essence if preferred.
  7. Rinse 6 to 8 individual silicone moulds (100 – 200 ml each) or one large silicone mould (1,5 liter capacity) with cold water  and place it on a baking tray.
  8. Pour the mixture into the mould(s) and set it aside to cool.
  9. Cover the mould(s) with cling film and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours or until completely set.  Bigger moulds will take longer to set.
  10. When ready to unmould, lower the mould(s) into a dish with hot water for a few seconds to make unmoulding easier.
  11. Turn out the mould(s) onto individual plates or onto a large serving platter and garnish with fresh mint leaves, seasonal fruit or chocolate (see the Sunflower-shaped pudding photo below).

Use other essence flavours such as coconut, lemon, vanilla, orange, coffee or strawberry and add a few drops food colouring to the milk mixture that complements the flavour, e.g. pink with strawberry, yellow with lemon, etc.

This recipe has been adapted from the Almond Jelly & Fruit Recipe in the Art Of Cooking recipe book p. 532.


Sunflower Mould
Sunflower Mould

Daisy Mould

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Baked Cardamom & Coconut Custard

A typical Asian cuisine baked custard. The taste and texture is irresistible. Serve after a meal which did not include many eggs, milk or cream. Serve as is or with a bowl of any appropriate fruit or fruit sauce – such as passion fruit in syrup or a lightly sweetened fresh fruit puree.

1 cup (250 ml) desiccated coconut
2 cups (500 ml) milk
6 cardamom pods
4 eggs
¼ cup (60 ml) sugar
1 cup (250ml) ) cream or additional milk (for less rich and creamy dessert)
pinch salt
grated nutmeg (optional)

tiny flowers
icing sugar to dust
fresh fruit or fruit sauce

  1. Place the coconut, milk and cardamom pods into a heavy saucepan and bring to boil.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Allow to cool and stand 10 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse the milk. Strain the milk through a fine sieve and press out as much milk as possible from the coconut.
  3. Add the egg, sugar, cream and salt and beat together very well. Strain the mixture again to remove any particles from the eggs.
  4. Pour the mixture into 6 – 8 individual ovenproof ramekin dishes, stand in a pan with hot water and sprinkle with nutmeg if used. Bake at 160°C for about 35 minutes or until light golden brown on top and set.
  5. Open the door and cool in the oven for 10 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool and refrigerate in a sealed container for at least several hours or overnight or up to 2 days.
  7. Serve with small spoons from the ramekin dishes or turn out and serve on a plate or in a bowl accompanied by fruit or fruit sauce and garnished as preferred.

6 to 8 servings.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster from Art Of Cooking page 524.

Baked Cardamom and coconut custard p. 524
Baked Cardamom and coconut custard p. 524

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Baked Grenadilla Sponge Pudding

A spongy cake-like topping forms on top of a creamy custard base – delicious either slightly warm with ice-cream and/or cream or cold with whipped cream and fresh fruit as garnish. The batter for this pudding may also be baked in small ramekin dishes for about half the time required for the large pudding.

1 x 115 g tin grenadilla pulp
4 large eggs, separated
¼ cup (60 ml) butter
½ cup (125 ml) sugar
¼ cup (60 ml) cake flour
pinch salt
1 cup (250 ml) very mildly lukewarm milk
½ tsp (2,5 ml) vanilla essence
1 cup (250 ml) cream, and
1 tsp (5 ml) sugar or

vanilla ice-cream

  1. Pour the contents of the tin of grenadilla pulp into a small bowl.
  2. Separate the eggs, adding the yolks to the pulp and the whites to a separate mixing bowl. Beat the egg whites until firm and the yolks and pulp lightly.
  3. Place the butter and sugar into a bowl and beat well until creamy.
  4. Add the flour and salt and mix until blended.
  5. Add the yolk and grenadilla mixture gradually, beating until all is evenly mixed, then beat in the milk. Pour the mixture into the bowl with the egg white and fold together gently until combined.
  6. Pour the mixture into a deep round ovenproof dish with at least 1,5 litres and place the dish into a suitable pan yo bake in a water bath.
  7. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the dish and bake at 170 º C for about 40 minutes for the round and slightly less for the rectangular dish or until set and golden brown on top.
  8. Remove the pudding from the oven and the water, cool partly to serve warm or cool completely and refrigerate to serve cold.
  9. Beat together the cream and the sugar until thickened but still pouring consistency and pour into a jug for serving.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster from Art Of Cooking page p. 510.

Baked grenadilla sponge pudding
Baked grenadilla sponge pudding p. 510

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Gooseberry Fool

This classic English dessert is tart and sweet at the same time.  Traditionally, fruit fool is made by folding pureed stewed fruit (classically made from gooseberries) into sweet custard.  This recipe has a modern twist and is light and no too rich – the perfect end to a meal.

500 g fresh gooseberries
250 g Greek yogurt
30 ml  raw honey or icing sugar
5 ml vanilla extract
pecan nuts, coarsely chopped

  1. Place the gooseberries in a saucepan with a splash of water. Heat gently, stirring, then bring to a simmer and cook until the fruit starts to burst.
  2. Squash the gooseberries with a potato masher or fork until pulpy.
  3. Set the saucepan aside to cool then chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Combine the yoghurt, honey or icing sugar and vanilla in a bowl.
  5. Add the cold purée to the yoghurt in the bowl and combine lightly without mixing too well so that the yoghurt has a yoghurt ripple.
  6. Divide the mixture between 4 serving glasses, cover the glasses with clingfilm and chill untill you’re ready to serve.

See my post In Season:  Gooseberries for more information.

If you have a copy of Carolié de Koster’s Art OF Cooking Recipe Book, you can also try the Poached meringue with golden gooseberry custard (Art Of Cooking p. 560).


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Goat’s Cheese Panna Cotta


Using goat’s cheese instead of only cream gives this popular Italian dessert an interesting twist.  It works well as an appetizer of as part of a cheese platter.   It can also easily be turned into a dessert.

15 ml gelatine powder
100 ml water
200 g goats cheese
250 ml cream
250 g cottage cheese or 500 ml Mascarpone cheese

  1. Combine the gelatine powder and water in an ovenproof jug and microwave on medium for 30 to 60 seconds until melted.  Do not let the mixture boil.
  2. Transfer the goats cheese, cream and cottage cheese to the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth.
  3. Stir a little of the creamy mixture into the gelatine and pour the melted gelatine into the bowl.
  4. Process until smooth and pour into a silicon mould or 8 to 10 individual glass bowls or into a large mould or bowl.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or preferably overnight to allow the pannacotta to set completely.
  6. To serve, turn the pannacotta out onto individual plates or a large serving platter and surround with savoury or sweet biscuits and bowls of green fig or melon preserves, pickles or peppadews.

8 to 10 servings

To make sweet panna cotta, add 1 ml vanilla extract and 200 ml icing sugar to the mixture before spooning it into the dish(es).  Serve with fresh seasonal fruit such as gooseberries, raspberries, blueberries or strawberries or fruit coulis.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster.

See my post Say Cheese for more information on goat cheese and cheese-making courses.

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Moulded Mascarpone Cream

A moulded pure white dessert nestles on a freestyle, colourful palette of the freshest fruit purees. The fruit used will vary with the seasons and the same platter will never be repeated precisely!  Any fruit sauces in bold colours do justice to this fine dessert.  You can definitely use a chocolate sauce too!

Prep time 1 hour
Cook time 5 minutes
Makes 6 – 8 servings

250 ml milk
2 cinnamon sticks
few drops almond essence
60 ml sugar
15 ml powdered gelatine
60 ml cold water
250 ml Mascarpone cheese
250 ml cream, stiffly beaten

Fruit puree

± 125 ml each of 3 kinds / colours of ripe fresh fruit pureed (e.g. mango, kiwi, watermelon, spanspek, sweet melon, goosebserries, paw-paw, strawberries, rasberries, blackberries
sugar to taste
additional garnish as preferred, e.g. fresh strawberries, gooseberries, blueberries, etc.

  1. Heat the milk very gently with the cinnamon sticks until it starts to boil.
  2. Remove from heat, stir in the almond essence and sugar and allow to stand a while to infuse, then strain through a fine sieve.
  3. Cover the gelatine with water in a jug and microwave on MEDIUM for 30 seconds – 1 minute until melted. Take care that the gelatine does not boil over.
  4. Alternatively, place the gelatine and water into a bowl set over the steam of simmering water and leave a few minutes or until melted.
  5. Stir the gelatine into the hot milk and allow to cool to room temperature.
  6. Place the Mascarpone cheese into a bowl and beat in the milk gradually using a whisk or electric beater, until evenly blended.
  7. Refrigerate the mixture at least 30 minutes while checking from time to time until it just starts to set.
  8. Beat the cream until stiff and fold into the partly set mixture until evenly blended. Divide the mixture between 6 to 8 ramekin dishes, smooth tops, cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or until quite firm.
  9. In the meantime prepare the fruit purees. Peel and stone or seed the fresh fruit and liquidise each kind of fruit separately to obtain a smooth puree. If necessary e.g. with gooseberries, pass the puree through a coarse strainer to remove the seeds. Sweeten to taste – the amount of sugar added will vary greatly depending on the acidity of the fruit and personal preference.
  10. To serve, loosen the sides of the moulds and turn out onto the centre of a suitable serving platter.
  11. Place about 50 ml of each puree around the mould and spread with a teaspoon if necessary to cover the plate thinly but neatly and just meet at the edges without mingling. Garnish as preferred.

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3-in-1 Apple Snow Dessert

This delicious dessert is sure to impress young and old!

  • Apple snow – The apple snow on it’s own is an ultra light and fresh dessert! 
  • Apple snow on custard – Spooned onto cooled custard which also utilises the egg yolks turns it into a delightful dessert!!
  • Frozen apple snow – The two layers mixed together, with or without extra whipped cream, turns it all into an irresistible apple ice-cream!!!

 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut up
30 ml water
75 ml sugar
pinch salt
75 ml additi0nal water
4 large egg whites, stiffly beaten

Vanilla custard
5oo ml milk
4 large egg yolks
60 ml sugar
pinch salt
30 ml cornflour
5 ml vanilla essence or paste

 Optional ingredients for ice-cream
125 ml whipped cream
30 ml sugar
few drops extra vanilla essence or pinch of vanilla paste

  1. Place the apple and water in a saucepan and simmer gently until the apple is tender or place in a jug, cover partly and microwave on High until the apple has softened.  Process or mash until a smooth apple sauce is obtained.
  2. Combine the sugar, salt and additional water and bring to boil.  Simmer one minute or until syrupy.
  3. Meanwhile, beat the egg whites until stiff and slowly pour in the warm syrup while beating until shiny and stiff peaks form. Fold in the apple sauce and refrigerate.
  4. To serve plain, spoon into stemmed glasses and serve or prepare the custard as explained below and then complete the dessert.
  5. In the microwave oven, heat the milk to boiling point. Beat together the egg yolks, sugar, salt  and cornflour in a large ovenproof bowl or jug and add the hot milk.  Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute or until the mixture just starts too thicken.  Beat well and microwave 30 seconds – 1 minute more or until the mixture is thick and bubbly.  Beat well and allow to cool a while.
  6. Remove skin if necessary and pour into a dessert bowl or individual stemmed bowls.
  7. Cool to room temperature and top with apple snow. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


To prepare the apple ice cream, mix the cooled custard and apple snow and freeze until icicles form (about 2 hours). Beat very well to break up icicles and freeze again.


For a richer creamier ice cream, add the whipped cream, sweetened with the sugar and flavoured with the extra vanilla  and mix in thoroughly before the final freezing stage.  Freeze at least 3 – 4 hours before serving.

Serves 6 to 8.

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Malva Pudding

Malva pudding is a classic South African dessert. It has a moist, sponge-like texture and is quite sweet.  Due to the fact that the syrup is poured over the cake and it is baked a second time, it is considered a pudding rather than a cake.  The pudding can be served on its own, often sliced into squares or simply scooped into shallow bowls, it can also be served with custard and/or ice-cream.

30 g butter at room temperature
200 ml sugar
250 ml cake flour
250 ml milk
2 large eggs, beaten
5 ml lemon juice
5 ml bicarb of soda
30 ml apricot jam

125 ml cream or evaporated milk
50 ml sugar
50 ml water
25 g butter

To serve (optional)
Custard or vanilla ice-cream

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 º C and grease a 20 x 20 cm square, oval or round ovenproof dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric hand mixer.
  3. Stir in the cake flour and milk and mix well.
  4. Add the egg, lemon juice, bicarbonate of soda and apricot jam to the mixing bowl.
  5. Pour the batter into the ovenproof dish and bake for 1 hour.
  6. To make the syrup, combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and boil for about two minutes.
  7. Remove the pudding from the oven and pour the syrup over the hot pudding.Return the pudding to the oven and bake for a further 10 minutes.
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature with custard or ice-cream.

6 servings.

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