Malva Pudding

Malva Pudding

There it was. Delicious, spongy, oozy, drippy, squidgy malva pudding. And then it was gone. Obliterated. Not by an army of South Africans ‘after the braai’ but by one wily 20-year-old. My brother ate the whole tray. There’s no hyperbole here. And if there was more malva, he would have eaten it too.

The legend of “uncle Ali’s treacherous tasting” has been inscribed into family lore through story and more recent eye-witness attestations, to the point that if there is malva pudding on the menu at family gatherings, you will see a swarm of children (ten to be exact) make a black-Friday-at-Walmart stampede towards the dessert table…in case uncle eats all the pudding again. The fear palpable.

From whence does this magical malva hail? Some say its name is derived from Malvasia wine from the island of Madeira, others believe it was originally made by an Afrikaans woman named Malva and the Oxford English dictionary says it links it to the Afrikaans malvalekker, meaning “marshmallow” (ultimately from Latin malva, a mallow) because of malva’s squishy texture. It’s a mystery…but what is not a mystery is that 

So, in ode to the mythology that keeps malva the holy Grail of after-braai puddings in expat life, here’s the recipe that keeps everybody coming back for more:




  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1&1/2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp apricot jam
  • 1 tsp bicarb
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • pinch salt


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 100g butter
  • 1tsp vanilla essence


  1. Beat egg and sugar together.
  2. Add flour, vinegar, jam, bicarb and baking powder to egg/sugar and mix well.
  3. Then add milk and salt, mix again.
  4. Pour into large dish.
  5. Bake for 1 hour in moderate oven.
  6. Prepare the sauce while the pudding is baking (boil ingredients together) and pour over the pudding as soon as it comes out of the oven.

Serve with custard and/or ice cream…

…and watch out for opportunistic little brothers.



Author & Storyteller: Andrea Zanin

Andrea is a writer, wife, mother and dreamer; also the author of this website. She moved to London in 2006 to earn £s, travel, see bands and buy 24-up Dr Martens—which she did, and then ended up staying. Andrea lives in North London with her husband (also a Saffa) and five children. She loves this grand old city but misses her home and wishes her children could say “lekker” (like a South African) and knew what a “khoki” is.

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