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IMG_4696This favourite Cape classic, which goes by several different names, is one of South Africa’s best known and loved traditional recipes. With good reason too: as they say in South Africa – it is simply divine.


I have always liked to serve some typical South African dishes to my friends, Americans, Brits and French and I always get a very positive response, in fact , they love it. So, I have decided to share some classic South African dishes with you over the next few weeks. As usual, I am going to pick very easy recipes that everyone can accomplish, even a novice cook. There will be a range of savory and sweet recipes, appetizers, main courses and desserts and of course a few BBQ specialties too. In my earlier blogs, I have already shared the sosaties and the peri-peri prawns a few months ago, oh, and the butternut soup is quite typical as well. But, now, I am going to do a weekly South African recipe. Fear not though, it will be in addition to my usual recipes and not in place of. So look out for the new weekly offering from My Rainbow Nation Collection of Recipes!


Serves 8 to 10


250 g / 9 oz dates, chopped
5 ml / 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
250 ml/ 1 cup  boiling water
30 ml / 2 tablespoons butter
200 g / 7 oz soft brown sugar
180 g / 6 oz flour
1 egg
7 ml / 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
pinch of nutmeg
300 g / 10 oz  soft brown sugar
185 ml / 3/4 cup water
15 ml / 1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
125 ml / 1/2 cup brandy or cognac


Preheat oven to 180 C / 360 F
Butter a baking dish, about 2 litres, (I use a 9″ X 9″ pyrex)
Sprinkle dates with bicarb and cover with boiling water
Mix well and leave to cool
Cream butter and sugar
Beat in egg to make a smooth mixture
Sift flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg
Stir into egg mixture
Add in dates
Pour into buttered baking dish
Bake until light brown, about 45 minutes
Prepare the syrup while pudding is baking
Heat the butter, sugar and water and stir until sugar dissolves
Increase heat and boil for 1 minute
Remove the syrup from the stove and stir in brandy, vanilla and salt
When the pudding is baked, pour the syrup over the hot pudding
Serve the pudding hot or at room temperature with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream
I often add a drop more brandy before serving