Stirring memories of people, places and things long gone – for some it’s sound, for some smells. For me, it’s food. Chicken pie with feather-light pastry, flaky from the real farm butter I churned myself on gran’s back stoep, chasing the rays of a weak winter sun. ’Putu’ with real milk that just came up from the dairy, the kind you had to stir to mix in the cream that had settled in a luscious inch-thick layer on top. Samp and oxtail, so gelatinous your fingers stuck together after you’d finished nibbling the bones. And warm baked sponge pudding drowned in Ideal milk and grandma love.
This is the food of my childhood. The food I turn to when the days grow short, the nights grow cold and I grow melancholy for all that was.
This malva pudding is not exactly, exactly the way gran made it. I cut down on the sugar and butter for starters (man, they used a lot), I substituted most of the cream for Ideal milk (because I love the stuff), and I added apples (because I had a tin in the cupboard and it made me feel virtuous). Moist, sweet and lush, all this apple malva pudding asks for is a scoop of real vanilla ice cream. A tot of brandy on the side wouldn’t hurt either.
All you need is…
FOR THE MALVA
1 cup white sugar
2 extra large free range eggs (I only do free range, you really taste the difference)
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup milk (125ml)
1⅓ cups self-raising flour (150g)
large pinch of salt
1 x 385g tin apples, drained and cut into large chunks
FOR THE SAUCE
1 cup evaporated milk (Ideal milk)
¼ cup salted butter
5 tbs cream
3 tbs sugar
ground cinnamon (optional) and vanilla ice cream
Use an electric whisk to beat together the eggs, vanilla and sugar until it’s light and creamy and the sugar dissolved. (Tip: stick you fingers in, if you still feel plenty of granules, keep on whisking.) Sieve the self-raising flour and salt together. Stir the flour into the eggs, alternating with the milk. Pour the batter into an oven-proof baking dish and gently drop in the apples, ensuring they’re spread evenly throughout. Cover with a lid or tinfoil and bake it in a pre-heated 180 degree Celsius oven for 40-50 minutes. Much like a cake, test it by inserting a thin skewer into the middle. If it comes out clean, it’s done.
Make the sauce while the malva pudding is baking. Simply heat the sauce ingredients together, stirring to dissolve the sugar. (TIP: you can add a tot of good brandy to the sauce as well.) Pour the warm sauce over the malva pudding as soon as it comes out of the oven. Much like me with size-12 skinny jeans, it looks like it will never all fit. It does. Just pour slowly and the malva will schlurp it all up like a sponge. Dust lightly with cinnamon (this is optional) and serve warm with vanilla ice cream (this is not optional).
This keeps excellently (covered and in the fridge of course) and can just be heated through in the microwave the next day. Then I enjoy it with a cup of rooibos. Nothing wrong with that except I do it at 8am, and call it breakfast…
I added some baby toffee apples to give this dish extra cheek. This is not essential of course. If you do go this route, bear in mind that you will need to make up for the extra sugar in the toffee apples by adding less sugar to the batter.