Cape Malwa Pudding: All the way from the tip of Africa

Cape Malwa Pudding

I saw this recipe sometime back on NY Times and knew instantly that I had to make it. For one, this sounded very interesting, since this was a different kind of pudding than what we are used to here in USA. And secondly, also most importantly, it brough back a flood of memories of South Africa. You see, I have been to South Africa and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. African food is awesome, to say the least. It helps that the cuisine blends many a different cuisines, thanks to the colonial past of that continent. But as happens with any blend over a priod of time, it has evolved into a unique and amazing cuisine of its own. I didn’t try too many desserts while I was there but the ones I did  have convinced me I need to try more. Hence, Cape Malwa pudding :).
The pictures will show you an amazing contrast of texture between the syrup soaked portion and the non syrup soaked area. The former is like a thick pudding that looks like an elaborate stalactite cave formation. The latter is more cake like and less moist. I have never been more amazed by such constrast in texture in the same dish. It’s almost magical, tasting even better the next day and day after. This is a great everyday dessert, especially comforting in the fall and winter chill. If you have kids, you have to make it for them. They will love you a little more and bother you a little less. 😀

Ingredients: Serves 8-10 people generously
Cake:
1.5 cup flour
1.5 tbsp baking soda
2 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp butter, at room temp
1.5 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 tbsp red wine vinegar (I substituted with apple cider vinegar)
3.5 tbsp apricot jam
2 tsp vanilla essence
1.5 cups milk (preferably whole)

Sauce:
3/4 cup regular cream (I used half and half to save on calories)
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp butter (you can use more as the original recipe calls for 1/2 cup of butter)
1/3 cup water
1 tsp vanilla essence
2-3 tbsp brandy/whisky (optional)

Preparation:
For best results, all ingredients should be at room temperature.  And don’t forget to keep scraping the sides of the mixer once in a while 🙂
1. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. (If you don’t have a stand mixer, use a hand mixer :D).
2. With the mixer still running, add eggs one at a time. Once incorporated, add vinegar, apricot jam, and vanilla extract.
3. With the mixer on low, add one third of the flour mixture and then one third of the milk.  Repeat process till all the flour and milk has been incorporated. You don’t want to over mix and develop the glutens in the flour, but you do want to make sure that there are no dry spots in the mixture.
4. Pour into a heavily greased and lightly floured baking dish of your choice (I used a 9″ square cake pan). Bake at 350˚ F for 45-50 minutes – until an inserted cake tester or toothpick comes out clean (remember, depending on the oven baking time can vary a bit, so test before you take it out). The outside should be well caramelized.
Sauce:
1. For the sauce, simply heat all of the ingredients in a small saucepan, whisking to make sure all of the sugar is dissolved.
2. Keep warm until you are ready to pour. If you let this sit too long, a skin will form on top. If this happens, just strain before pouring.
3. Let the pudding cool for about 15 minutes. You have the choice of unmoulding the pudding onto a plate or letting it stay in the pan at this point.
4. Poke holes all over the pudding and slowly pour the sauce over all sides. You want the sauce to soak in everywhere especially the edges. I spooned the sauce over the pudding instead of just pouring it outright but feel free to go with your preference. However, know that if you pour too quickly, the sauce will just pool and will make only the bottom part of the pudding moist. I was in a hurry and could not afford to let the whole thing rest for the syrup to soak in but my guess is if you allow the rest time, the syrup might actually soak down the whole thing. Honestly though, I love it this dual testured way 🙂
5. Serve it warm (the traditional way) or serve it cold if you don’t like warm desserts. Typically this is served warm with custard. I like it as it is though.

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