Things I have been cooking lately #170: Jan Ellis pudding

Growing up in South Africa, you wouldn’t think we were very good at wintery food. However in Johannesburg, where I grew up, while the winter days are sunny and warm by Northern European standards, the temperature drops dramatically at night and it can get very chilly. One of my favourite wintery things that my mum used to make was warm baked puddings, always served with lashings of cold custard, which Mr O finds bizarre.

When our friend N (who is also South Afircan), visited a couple of weekends ago I decided to make a classic baked pudding to warm our cockles and he confirmed that cold custard was definitely the way to go. It must be a South African thing.

This pudding is named after some chap called Jan Ellis. I have no idea who he is but it has a subtle spicy, slightly orangey flavour and it took me right back to my childhood.


Jan Ellis pudding

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 cup of milk
3/4 cup self-raising flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon very soft butter
Pinch of salt
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Zest of half an orange

For the syrup

1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cream
1/2 a teaspoon vanilla extract
100g butter
1/2 cup sugar
Zest of half an orange

Preheat your oven to 180 C and grease a medium baking dish. I used the little heart-shaped one in the picture that is about 15cm at its widest point.

Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in the milk. Mix together the remaining ingredients well and then add the milk mixture and mix until smooth. Pour into the baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

To make the syrup place all the ingredients into a small saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for one minute.

Poke the warm pudding with a fork all over and then pour over the syrup a little at a time until the pudding has absorbed all of it. Serve with (cold) custard or ice cream.

Serves 3 or 4


  1. That’s a new one on me, Abbi. But it looks delicious!
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. It’s excellent winter stodge!

  2. Hmmmmmm!!

    I just had to do some investigoogling for the name of the pudding, because we all just know it as “Jan Ellis pudding” xD


    I don’t know, cold custard is the way to go when it comes to puddings. Must be a South African thing. Looks lovely lady.

    1. Hahahahaha! Aunt Vossie! And a rugby player. It couldn’t be more Afrikaans if it was langarm-ing to to Bles Bridges!

      Cold custard perfectly balances with the temperature of the hot pudding so you don’t burn your mouth!

      1. LOOOOOOOOOOOL xD I thought you might appreciate how completely Afrikaans it is!

        Exactly! Perfectly balanced, perfectly delicious. This is why ice cream is perfect on waffles.

    1. It’s proper soul food.

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