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11 South African desserts to master

We’re fairly sure you know how to make Peppermint Crisp tart, but have you tried your hand at plaiting a koeksister? Here are 11 classic South African puddings to master. Do you have a fool-proof family pudding? Tell us about it in the comments.

1. Malva pudding

Reader Minca Worsley shared her ouma’s recipe for malva pudding with us – and it’s a winner. The sauce involves Cape Velvet and evaporated milk.

Ouma Corrie's malva pudding. Photo by Jan Ras.

Ouma Corrie’s malva pudding. Photo by Jan Ras.

2. Koeksisters

Koeksisters take a little bit of skill to master. The key is to make sure the syrup is ice cold – prepare it the day before and refrigerate it for the ultimate crisp, syrup-soaked sister.

3. Milk tart

Yes, you can buy it at the store, but there’s something special about a homemade milk tart. Try one of these six inventive twists on the classic.

Seline and Leandri's chocolate milk tart. Photo courtesy of Two.

Seline and Leandri’s chocolate Mexican milk tart. Photo courtesy of Two.

4. Hertzoggies

These jam tarts are a classic at Karoo padstalletjies. The topping – a kind of meringue with coconut folded in – should have a thin crisp layer on the outside, and be soft as clouds inside.

Justin Bonello's Hertzoggies. Photo by

Justin Bonello’s Hertzoggies. Photo courtesy of Cooked in the Karoo, published by Penguin.

5. Melkos

Made with tapioca, this version of the comforting, milky pudding is free of wheat, gluten, maize, eggs, soya, colourants and preservatives.

Melkkos with tapioca. Photo courtesy Hilda Lategan’s South African Cookbook for Allergies and Food Intolerance.

Melkkos with tapioca. Photo courtesy Hilda Lategan’s South African Cookbook for Allergies and Food Intolerance.

6. Vetkoek

Serve these golden, fried balls of dough covered in golden syrup or with a spiced chocolate dipping sauce, like in this recipe by Sarah Graham.

7. Slinger-om-die-smoel

This milky soupy pudding is served with sugar and butter, and is wonderfully comforting on chilly nights.

Slinger om die smoel. Photo courtesy of The South Africa Milk Tart Collection.

Slinger om die smoel. Photo courtesy of The South Africa Milk Tart Collection.

8. Pumpkin fritters

These classic fritters are delicious with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar and lemon juice, or a generous drizzle of syrup. Want more squash in your life? Try this pumpkin pie with pumpkin-seed praline.

9. Coconut squares

Tennis biscuits, condensed milk and coconut team up with white chocolate and cream for a fridge tart of a sweetness that only a South African palate could countenance.

Coconut squares. Photo courtesy Cleta Joannou's Condensed Milk: everyone's guilty secret.

Coconut squares. Photo courtesy Cleta Joannou’s Condensed Milk: everyone’s guilty secret.

10. Askoek

Cooked directly on the coals, this simple bread is best served hot with good honey. The perfect camping pud.

11. Rooibos date loaf

Serve this lovely loaf with butter, good jam, and a cup of rooibos tea, naturally.

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