Pear & ginger malva pudding

Pear & ginger malva pudding

The malva pudding is one of the most traditional South African desserts you will find, and here I’ve made a pear and ginger version because these flavours work so beautifully with the buttery sweetness. I’m ecstatic with the results. 

Pear & ginger malva pudding

The base recipe for this Malva pudding comes from Maggie Pepler and was on the old Boschendal Sunday buffet menu for over 3 decades. It has been widely written about by South African food writers and I can say that is definitely amongst the best, if not the best version I have tried.

I did, however, find the amount of sauce to be too overwhelming in the original recipe and for my preference so I adjusted the quantities down a little. In the past, I have added orange juice to replace the water because I love the citrus to cut through some of the sweetness.

Pear & ginger malva pudding

People are super protective of their heritage recipes as I discovered last year when I did a London Fog rendition of a traditional South African Milk Tart. The addition of Earl Grey tea flavour was so delicious to me but some people find it unacceptable to mix a classic recipe up.

Pear & ginger malva pudding

There is also a lot of debate as to what kind of base constitutes a traditional milk tart and despite me proclaiming my personal preferences being tennis biscuits (I love the texture) – I was shut down by a person who let’s just say is sadly no longer my friend.

Pear & ginger malva pudding

I hope this pear and ginger malva pudding doesn’t end another friendship. It’s merely a spin on a classic recipe and I mean no harm to anyone by making it this way. 

This is part of the larger discussion around the cultural appropriation of recipes, but for me, the Internet is my home and I am influenced by global food trends and flavours, it’s hard not to mix it up. I also love to play around with ingredients that work well together – even if I happen to alter a much-loved traditional recipe. After all, isn’t that what recipe blogging is about? About discovery, creating and sharing recipes with the hope to inspire and add deliciousness to people’s lives.

Pear & ginger malva pudding

If you are unfamiliar with the traditional South African malva pudding, think of a warm sponge doused in a rich buttery sauce that is akin to the early stages of butterscotch before the sugar caramelisation sets in. The sauce seeps into the sponge making it super moist and delicious. It’s so rich it needs custard, cream or ice cream to break the sweetness. 

Pear & ginger malva pudding


For this recipe, I have used a combination of fresh and preserved ginger because I think they both add different flavour elements and overall it was fairly mild. You could add a little more if you like a strong ginger flavour. Or you could add a dash of ginger powder too.

I’ve kept some of the leftover sauce that didn’t sink in on the side to serve. I also added a dash of ginger to the mix there too. 

*You can see a copy of Maggie Pepler’s original recipe here

You may also like:

Malva pudding with cranberries & ginger 

Malva pudding with ginger and pears poached in Rooibos tea

My best-ever baking recipes on Drizzleanddip

Other South African favourite recipes:

 The best buttermilk bran rusks

Classic South African unbaked milk tarts

The best chocolate malva pudding

Earl Grey tea milk tart  -Baked milk tart 

My grandmother Betty’s crunchy recipe

Easy peppermint crisp pudding

Traditional South African bobotie with fragrant yellow rice

Recipe – makes one pudding – serves 6 – 8

pear & ginger malva pudding

A delicious classic South African Malva pudding recipe with poached pears and ginger.
Print Recipe
Malva pudding with ginger & pears poached in rooibos tea recipe
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:45 minutes



  • 3 pear peeled, cored and cut into medium chunks of a similar size
  • 3 – 4 few slices of fresh ginger


  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp  dried ginger
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped preserved ginger
  • 1 Tbsp smooth apricot jam
  • 1 cup flour all-purpose/cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda/bicarb
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp melted butter 
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 250 ml / 1 cup milk


  • 180 ml / 3/4 cup sour cream or fresh cream
  • 110 gm butter 
  • 3/4 cup sugar 
  • 100 ml boiling water or orange juice
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 Tbsp preserved ginger syrup 


  • Bring a cup of water to the boil in a medium pot with the sliced ginger and poach the pears for 5 minutes. Drain, remove the slices of ginger and allow to cool slightly.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 C (350F)
  • Using an electric mixer, beat the egg, sugar, jam, and gingers on high for about 5 minutes and until pale and fluffy. 
  • In a separate bowl sift the flour and bicarb of soda.
  • Melt the butter in the microwave and add the vinegar.
  • Whilst the mixer is still running on low alternate between adding the flour and the milk in parts until it’s well combined. Add the butter and vinegar mixture.
  • By hand fold through the poached pears and empty the batter into a well-greased baking dish aprox 28 – 30cm in diameter (round) or 30 x 20 cm square (glass pyrex or ceramic works well) and cover with foil.
  • Bake for 45 mins until it’s firm and golden (The pudding is ready when it has an even golden brown colour over the top, bake a bit longer if it is still pale in the middle).
  • While the malva pudding is baking, melt all the sauce ingredients in a pot on the stove and pour this over the pudding as soon as it comes out the oven.
  • Don’t worry if it looks like it is literally drowning, it will seep in. Reserve whatever doesn’t go in a jug to serve.
  • A shot of something boozy wouldn’t go amiss in this sauce. 


Omit the ginger and pears for a more traditional South African Malva pudding recipe
Servings: 6 -8
Author: Sam Linsell


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  1. I have been living in London for the past 20 years and serving the Boschendal recipe for malva pudding, it goes down a treat! You are so clever to come up with a pear and ginger version, sounds fabulous and will definitely make it.
    Love, love your recipes!

  2. Jessica Henning says:

    I think that people who enjoy cooking have a creative side as food is definitely art, just in a different format. If you don’t experiment with new flavours, the world would become a boring place. Changing it up is inspiring as are your recipes! What a beautiful, interesting blog. Thank you.

  3. Thanks so much Jessica and I agree with you about change and moving forward. Thanks for the kind words

  4. Thanks Mary and the Boschendal recipe is the best

  5. Hi Sam! I’m too scared to experiment with baking, too much of an exact science and I’m too much of a control freak. I’ll leave the experimenting happily to you…and then follow your recipe to the letter, knowing it’s going to a massive success as ALWAYS, whether you’ve tweaked it or not. Well done!! It’s in the oven to eat after butternut soup tonight 🙂 can’t wait!

  6. Thanks, Linda and I hope you love it. Please let me know what you thought. Enjoy!

  7. This looks incredible! Love the pear and ginger combination.

  8. Thanks Brina 🙂

  9. Marie-Anne Duarte says:

    This looks like just the dessert for this last wintery weekend. Do you think I could make this in advance?

  10. HI

    I think always best to make on the day and for the meal as I think reheating it will dry it out/ Unless you reheat in the microwave which isn’t that romantic but could work

  11. Marie-Anne Duarte says:

    Thank you sio much Sam. Love love your posts and don’t stop experimenting!

  12. Danuta I Gajewski says:

    I am in love! Made this last night…and took your advice about a “shot of something boozy” (Poire William) – OMG!! I can’t think of a better flavour combination than pear and ginger (OK, I’m Polish, so dill and sour cream – but not in desserts!). Sam…this recipe is stunning. As my husband said, “this takes my breath away!”

  13. I LOVE traditional recipes as well as making things with a twist, too. It’s fun to play with & eat one’s foodie creations.

  14. Thanks Sheena

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