Throwback Thursday: Japie se Gunsteling — your favourite too?

Throwback Thursday: Japie se Gunsteling — your favourite too?
Japie’s favourite pudding: Tony Jackman’s take on ‘Japie se Gunsteling’, a baked self-saucing citrus pudding. 7 May 2024. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Every Plattelander loves this most delicious of self-saucing puddings, a beauty of a family classic beloved of generations. It’s an elixir, a spirit lifter, a beguiler of the palate. Yet oh, so simple.

For a pudding so beloved by almost every small-town resident I have met, I always find it strange when I have to explain to big city people what Japie se Gunsteling is. I suppose I could just say “orange pudding” but there’s more to it than that. I can’t say I’ve seen signs that its English name, Japie’s Delight, ever caught on.

For a recipe that is at least 63 years old, to still be around in 2024 says something about its desirability. Oom Japie de Villiers loved it, his wife Ina loved it and wrote about it, and here we are. Who? If you haven’t figured that out, there’s more about that further down.

But I see signs that this gloriously satisfying pudding is slipping out of relative obscurity into the mainstream. With luck, this story will help it find a wider audience in the kitchens of the land. Shall we start with yours?

Is Japie se Gunsteling in your repertoire, have you heard of it, or do you perhaps know it as Japie’s Delight? If not, are you going to give it a try? Let me know.

Japie se Gunsteling is a baked pudding in the way that malva pudding is a baked pudding, only in a different way. There’s a bit of a soufflé element to it, and it has a warm and gooey puddle of lovely citrusy sauce that collects at the bottom while the soufflé part of it sets at the top, forming a slight crust.

Having said that, strictly speaking it is not a soufflé; there’s only a small element of that in its finish. It sits in its own space in the world of puddings, and I also like to call it by the name it is known and loved by in the Afrikaans community. “Gunsteling” is a beauty of a word, and there are many dishes in the world that we call by their original names even if it’s in another language. For the record, for those who do not have Afrikaans, and for Charlize Theron, it means Japie’s Favourite (pudding, which is not spoken, simply understood).

Japie is believed to be Japie de Villiers, the husband of the legendary South African recipe book creator SJA (or Ina) de Villiers, whose classic tome Kook en Geniet (later translated and republished as Cook&Enjoy) is still on the bookshelves after more than 60 years. Ina de Villiers liked to call it Japie se Gunsteling.

In both the 1972 English edition and the 1992 reprint and massive design update, the citrus pudding is called Japie’s Delight, which doesn’t come close to matching the simple charm of Japie se Gunsteling, and I think they should revert to that, even in their English edition. It has stood out against so many other puddings in the same book, and it deserves its place in the sun.

Sometimes availability of ingredients alters even a classic dish slightly. Instead of lemon zest, I used the finely grated zest of a lime as well as the requisite orange zest (and juice). But swap it out for lemon zest by all means, and you’ll have a more traditional version.

My version is for individual puddings baked in standard ramekins, but you can choose to bake it in one larger dish if you prefer, as you would usually make a malva pudding.

The key to this pudding, other than the citrus of course, is the separation of the eggs.

(Makes about 8 ramekins)


3 eggs, separated

250 g caster sugar

375 ml full-cream milk

100 ml sifted cake flour

Juice of 1 lemon

Zest of 1 orange

Zest of 1 lime (or lemon)

300 ml orange juice

3 Tbsp melted butter

Butter for the ramekins


Preheat the oven to 180°C. 

Separate the eggs.

Whisk the yolks and caster sugar until creamy.

Add half of the milk and whisk thoroughly.

Sift in the flour, then stir in the remaining milk.

Pour in the orange juice slowly while whisking constantly. Squeeze the lemon and lime through a fine sieve into a bowl, making sure no pips slip through. Pour this slowly into the sloppy mixture while beating constantly with a wooden spoon, until well combined. Stir in the zest and then the melted butter.

Beat the egg whites until stiff, then fold into the mixture using a wooden spoon.

Butter the insides of the ramekins.

Pour the mixture evenly into ramekins until it’s about 0.5cm from the top. My mixture filled nine. Place them carefully in a suitable oven dish.

Boil a kettle. 

Pour water around the ramekins until halfway up.

Bake in a 180°C oven for about 45 minutes or until you can see a beautiful crust on top. 

That’s it, no custard required. The sauce will have already collected at the bottom. DM

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Writer 2023, jointly with TGIFood columnist Anna Trapido. Order his book, foodSTUFF, here

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.

This dish is photographed on a brown plate by Mervyn Gers Ceramics.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Valerie Myburgh says:

    Hello, Tony Jackman
    I am a senior citizen and just want to let you know how much I enjoy your recipes. They have re-ignited my love of cooking and baking and always make my mouth water as I read them. My daughter is a huge fan of self-saucing puddings and I really look forward to making this one for her this weekend.
    Just wondering, is there any chance that we could a meat-free day in our daily recipes? My daughter (who takes care of her aged mother) is a vegan and I would love some lekker Karoo recipes that I could make for her? Cook and Enjoy is my favourite go-to recipe book,
    Kindest regards, Margaret Myburgh

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