Custard Dumplings (vla sponskluitjies)

Custard dumplings, while not as famous as traditional South African souskluitjies (dumplings), are easy to make, and delicious – especially on a cold rainy day. The only downside we can think of is the fact that they disappear very quickly. It is the sort of dish that makes you watch your fellow table-mates very closely.

Most recipes for custard dumplings use a combination of cornflour, custard powder and flour, but we simply make it with cornflour. Which means it will be gluten-free if you use the correct cornflour.

This recipe is for about three people, but you can double or triple the recipe if you want to make more. 

Serves 3.


  • 2 cups (500 ml) milk
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • ½ cup (65 g) cornflour – or use ⅔ cup (85 g) for a firmer texture
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) sugar
  • ½ teaspoon (2 ml) salt
  • 1 teaspoon  (5 ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 rounded tablespoon (20 gram) butter
  • Cinnamon sugar (1/4 cup white sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon). You can add a dash of nutmeg to the cinnamon sugar if you want to.


  1. You will need a tureen or casserole dish. Fill it with boiled water to keep it warm while you make the custard mixture (or alternatively, keep it in the oven at a low temperature).
  2. Bring 2 cups milk to the boil. Add a cinnamon stick and allow to infuse for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Mix cornflour, egg yolks and one to two tablespoons of cold milk together. Stir until you have a lump-free paste.
  4. Boil the milk again and gradually add about a third of the hot milk to the cornflour and egg mixture while stirring continuously.
  5. Add the sugar and salt.
  6. Add to the rest of the hot milk while stirring continuously. (The idea is to heat the egg gradually. If you heat the eggs rapidly, it will turn into scrambled eggs.)
  7. Bring to the boil and simmer, whisking constantly to prevent burning, until the mixture thickens.  Taste to ensure that the cornflour is cooked through. 
  8. Take the mixture off the heat.
  9. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form in it and gently fold into the cooling mixture, together with the vanilla extract.
  10. Melt the butter.
  11. Pour the hot water from the dish and sprinkle the bottom with cinnamon sugar.
  12. Dip a metal spoon in the melted butter and use it to transfer buttery spoonfuls of the cooked custard to the serving dish, until you have a layer of dumplings.
  13. Sprinkle a layer of cinnamon sugar and add a little melted butter.
  14. Follow with another layer of custard dumplings, cinnamon sugar and butter and carry on until all the custard is in the serving dish.
  15. Finish with a layer of cinnamon sugar and butter.

Serve warm from the serving dish.


You can bake the dumplings in the oven for 20 minutes at 170° C, in a casserole dish with the lid on.