No Mere Trifle Festive Dessert Challenge: the winning entries and how to make them

No Mere Trifle Festive Dessert Challenge: the winning entries and how to make them
(Photos and collage: Tony Jackman)

It’s clear: Daily Maverick readers love baked puddings, even on hot summer’s days. Of the many entries received for our competition, 90% were for baked puddings.


We invited readers to send us their recipes for a festive dessert that’s a family favourite. Daily Maverick’s food editor, Tony Jackman, and Karoo pudding guru Heyla Meyer made them, tasted them — and made some difficult decisions, just as soon as he had recovered from the sugar rush.

We were looking for desserts that were easy to make using ordinary ingredients. Here are the results.

The winner

Lorraine Lewis’s apple pudding

Lorraine Lewis, from Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape, has baked for 62 of her 69 years. She loves sharing her creations with her children and grandchildren. “I made a recipe book of all the foods and baked goods that they love.”

She explains that, because her mother wasn’t much of a baker, she took it upon herself to learn how to do it. One of her earliest creations was the winning apple pudding. “I experimented with a lot of things as I was growing up — I loved anything with apples,” says Lewis.

She came across the recipe in a Tupperware brochure in the 1970s and it has since become a staple dessert that her family always enjoys in the festive season.

Although the original recipe suggests using fresh ingredients, “it’s much easier with tinned apples”, says Lewis.

She loves the simplicity and ease of making this delicious dessert. “Everyone loves it. The ingredients are always in the pantry.”

The pudding pairs well with ice cream, cream or custard, says Lewis, depending on the weather and one’s own preference.

Tony Jackman says: “Why haven’t I been making this recipe for years? It takes the idea of an apple tart and turns it into a baked pudding and it’s just wonderful.

“It absolutely met our brief of a simple recipe that turns out perfectly and can be made by a home cook with no fuss.”

Apple pudding

Lorraine Lewis’s apple pudding. (Photo: Tony Jackman)


1 x tin pie apples

1 cup sugar

1 cup flour

1 egg

1 cup milk

2 tsp baking powder

Cinnamon and 2 tsp sugar (sugar optional) to sprinkle over


Put tinned apples in a greased dish and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Beat egg, milk, flour and sugar and then add baking powder.

Pour over the apples.

Bake at 180°C for 45 to 60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Serve hot with custard, cream or ice cream.


Angela Butlion’s chocolate mousse

Butlion (69), from Constantia in Cape Town, has been baking since she was a teenager. She remains passionate about it and regularly makes her signature dish: this very chocolate mousse. 

She makes it all year round and for most special occasions because it’s “quick and easy to make, and it’s inexpensive”.

“It is the one dessert that my family has always loved, and it is my own recipe that I have honed over time,” says Butlion.

“It also doubles, trebles and even quadruples successfully. It tastes best when made the day before and removed from the fridge 30 minutes before serving.”

The mousse can be enjoyed plain or with a bit of  Van Der Hum liqueur for an extra kick. 

“Both my sons love my chocolate mousse — one loves it plain and the other likes the addition of the Van Der Hum,” says Butlion.

Tony Jackman says: “There are thousands of recipes for chocolate mousse, some more luscious than others. Some are fluffier, some are denser, some are smoother.

“What I like about this recipe is the fine balance between its simplicity and its lusciousness. It was easy to make and met our brief of not using expensive ingredients. It’s quite refreshing, in fact, to see the overlooked Cadbury Bournville in a recipe.

“Yet the result is what its creator says it is: simply delicious.”

Chocolate mousse

Angela Butlion’s chocolate mousse. (Photo: Tony Jackman)


150 g Cadbury Bournville chocolate

3 XL free-range eggs

30 ml water (or substitute with 30ml Van Der Hum, Kahlua or Amarula)


Melt chocolate and water in the microwave oven and leave to cool for 15 minutes.

Separate the eggs.

Beat egg whites until stiff.

Add egg yolks to melted (and cooled) chocolate and beat together well.

Fold in the beaten egg whites.

Place in a large enough bowl or into individual ramekins or glasses and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours.

Judges’ tip: to make it even more luxurious, top with strawberries macerated in a touch of liqueur of your choice.

Rona van Niekerk’s malva pudding

Who doesn’t love a sticky and rich malva pudding? Rona van Niekerk has been baking for over 50 years and has come to realise that her malva pudding is a “universal favourite”, she says.

Although she generally makes this dessert for Christmas, it’s also perfect throughout the year for “high days and holidays”.

“It’s been a family favourite for many years because it tastes so good.”

Tony Jackman says: “And it does taste so good. This malva recipe makes a substantial quantity of moist, moreish pudding, and the colour is gorgeous too.”

Malva pudding

Rona van Niekerk’s malva pudding. (Photo: Tony Jackman)


2 Tbsp butter

¾ cup sugar

1 cup flour

1 egg

¾ cup milk

1 Tbsp apricot jam

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 

1 Tbsp vinegar


1 cup fresh cream

2 Tbsp butter 

½ cup sugar

½ cup boiling water


Cream butter and sugar. 

Add egg, milk and flour. 

Dissolve soda in vinegar, and add it with the jam. 

Pour into a flat greased dish and bake in a medium oven (30-40 minutes).

Meanwhile, boil the sauce ingredients together for a few minutes.

Remove from the oven and pour over the sauce.

Kirsten Mack’s bread and butter pudding with brandy sauce

A love for “a warm, stick-to-the-bone” kind of dessert is what inspired Kirsten Mack’s mouthwatering bread and butter pudding, which is coated in a thick, custard-like brandy sauce. 

Although this pudding is not something that she makes every year, it is “a simple dish made with ingredients already available in the pantry”, says Mack.

“The brandy sauce gives the bread pudding that extra touch of warmth, which is so comforting,” she says.

“This is a traditional South African recipe which my family and I love. It is the perfect comfort food and so economical as it uses day-old bread. As I usually have these ingredients in my pantry, I can quickly whip up this warm dessert for last-minute family gatherings. It feels like a warm hug.”

Tony Jackman says: “This is a bread and butter pudding that’s been switched up with cream and plenty of vanilla, and it is served with a heady brandy sauce, which is like a rich brandy custard. Though the brandy is, of course, optional.”

Bread and butter pudding

Kirsten Mack’s bread and butter pudding with brandy sauce. (Photo: Tony Jackman)


1 loaf of day-old bread, cut into 3cm chunks

100ml butter/margarine, melted and cooled

350ml milk

250ml fresh cream

2 Tbsp vanilla essence

100 g castor sugar

2 eggs and 2 extra egg yolks

1/2 cup raisins

Brandy sauce:

3 egg yolks

1 cup castor sugar

2 Tbsp vanilla essence

1 1/2 cups milk

1 Tbsp corn flour/Maizena

¼ cup boiling water

¼ cup brandy


Preheat the oven to 180°C.

In a medium bowl, whisk the butter, eggs and castor sugar until the sugar dissolves.

Add the milk, fresh cream and vanilla and mix well.

Fold in the bread chunks and half of the raisins until well coated and allow the bread to soak for 5 minutes.

In a large baking dish, spread the mixture evenly and sprinkle the leftover raisins on top.

Bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out dry and the pudding is golden and slightly crispy.

Brandy sauce:

Using a small saucepan, whisk the egg yolks, castor sugar, vanilla essence and milk. Use a low heat to bring to the boil.

Mix the cornflour and boiling water until there are no lumps. Add to the saucepan and stir until the sauce thickens slightly. Take the pan off of the heat and stir in the brandy.

Serve while hot and pour over each serving of the pudding.

Optionally, sprinkle castor sugar on top of the pudding before serving.

Mike du Plessis’s vinegar pudding

The death of his mother when Mike du Plessis was 15 years old forged a 45-year-long commitment to the culinary arts as he took it upon himself to cook and bake for his family of five. “I am now 61 and I bake every week,” he says. 

Du Plessis loves making tarts and puddings that he shares with his friends. This vinegar pudding recipe, his own, is “decadent and awesome. It is very rich.”

It has become quite the family favourite and was inspired by a desire to experiment with unique flavour combinations. 

“If you don’t try something new, you stagnate,” says Du Plessis. 

Tony Jackman says: “It’s a platteland (countryside) favourite and gets the balance just right: you can taste the vinegar clearly, but it is nevertheless a sweet and satisfying pudding. I loved it.”

Vinegar pudding

Mike du Plessis’s vinegar pudding. (Photo: Tony Jackman)


For the batter:

2 cups flour

1 egg

2 x 12.5 ml apricot jam

2.5 ml salt

250 ml milk

125 g/125 ml butter

5ml nutmeg

5 ml ginger

10 ml fresh bicarbonate of soda

60 ml raisins (I soak them in a bit of hot water to hydrate them)


250 ml hot water

125 ml brown vinegar

250 ml sugar (brown or white)

125 g raisins


Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Mix butter and egg, then stir in the jam.

Mix milk and bicarb in a separate container.

Sift flour, nutmeg, ginger and salt and add to butter, mixing while adding milk slowly.

Stir in 60ml raisins and put the mixture to the side.

In a pot on the stove add the water, vinegar, sugar and 125g raisins, bring to the boil and stir until all sugar is dissolved.

Pour this into a large buttered ovenproof dish, then spoon the batter into the sauce; it will foam slightly.

Bake until the top is brown, about 40 minutes, then remove and let it stand for 10 minutes. Serve with ice cream or custard. DM


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