Malva pudding

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Malva pudding
Malva Pudding.jpg
Place of originSouth Africa
Serving temperatureHot
Main ingredientsflour, sugar, milk, apricot jam , balsamic vinegar

Malva pudding is a sweet pudding of South African origin. It contains apricot jam and has a spongy caramelized texture. A cream sauce is often poured over it while it is hot, and it is usually served hot with custard and/or ice-cream. Many South African restaurants offer it.

The pudding gained popularity on the West Coast of the US after Oprah Winfrey's personal chef, Art Smith, served it for Christmas dinner in 2006 to the pupils of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa.[1]

There are various theories on the origin of the name.

  • The Oxford English Dictionary says it comes from Afrikaans malvalekker, meaning "marshmallow" (ultimately from Latin malva, a mallow).[2] This may arise from a resemblance between the pudding's texture and that of a marshmallow or a similar Afrikaner sweet, the malvelekker, made with the extract of marsh mallow.[3]
  • Malva is also Afrikaans for geranium (in the broad sense, including Pelargonium).[4] Another botanical theory is that the batter was originally flavoured with the leaves of the lemon- or the rose-scented geranium, varieties of South African native plants.[3]
  • Art Smith said that according to Colin Cowie, his hospitality ambassador in South Africa, the pudding was named after a woman called Malva.[5]
  • Another theory is that the sauce originally contained Malvasia (malmsey) wine. Proponents of this theory include brandy or sherry in the sauce.[3]
  • Still others suggest that the pudding was originally accompanied by Malvasia wine.[6]

Jan Ellis Pudding is a variant.[7]

In 2019 making Malva pudding was set as a technical challenge for contestants of the TV baking contest Junior Bake Off by South African cookery writer Prue Leith. However the presenter Harry Hill confided in one of the contestants that he didn't believe Malva pudding really existed as he had never heard of it.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Malva pudding piques US palates' interest". eNCA. 23 March 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  2. ^ The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. Clarendon Press. 1993.
  3. ^ a b c "Malva pudding". Winemag. August 10, 2007. Archived from the original on 12 August 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  4. ^ "Translation of the word "malva"". Afrikaans-English dictionary Afrikaans-Engelse woordeboek. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  5. ^ Oprah and Malva Pudding
  6. ^ "Malva Pudding Recipe". Food & Family. 20 August 2007. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  7. ^ "Jan Ellis pudding or Malvapoeding? - Cape Point Press". Cape Point Press. 2012-11-30. Retrieved 2018-10-26.