Sometimes, dessert is warranted. I thought I'd make a treat for the Frenchman: Friday night, weekend ahead, two days of no 5am wake up calls. And he loves, loves, malva pudding. Which is kind of funny. It's a very English sort of pudding: spongy, a little sticky, warm, eaten with custard.
You can't look at a menu in 85% of South African restaurants without seeing and later meeting some version of it.
Last year, in Cape Town, I went off on a cyber search for the origin of malva pudding, hoping to conclude that a local rose-scented pelargonium had lent its name to the moist dessert. Via that search we met David Pepler, whose mother Maggie baked it at the behest, so he says, of Michael Olivier, at Boschendal, the legendary wine estate between Stellenbosch and Franschoek, and where the buffets (Maggie's buffets) were famous. All very interesting.
But it took me a while to figure out the recipe that resembled, as closely as possible, the mass-produced but delicious malva pudding sold by the high end South African supermarket chain, Woolworths. Go figure. But here it is, or there it was, last night, at last. A little more butter, a little more vinegar, a quarter cup less sugar.
The malva pudding recipe is up at 66 Square Feet (the Food).