Sago pudding with meringue topping

Combining cinnamon and apricot jam, this sago pudding is creamy, comforting, and quite representative of South African cooking.

This recipe's secret to success is to allow sufficient time for the sago starch to become translucent, before baking it at a low temperature.

Makes 6 portions.


  • 1 litre milk
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • Optional: cardamom pod
  • 90 gram (1/2 cup) sago
  • 70 gram (1/3 cup) sugar
  • 60 gram butter
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) salt
  • 4 eggs yolks
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For meringue topping:

  • ¼ cup apricot jam (we use Craig's Reduced Sugar Apricot jam with great
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (Castor sugar is even better)
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 ml) cream of tartar


  1. Bring milk and cinnamon quill (and optionally, also a cardamom pod) to boiling point in a 2 litre container.
  2. Add sago and cover the dish. Leave to soak at least 90 minutes (or overnight if more convenient).
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C.
  4. Whisk.
  5. Bring the milk mixture to the boil and thoroughly whisk the mixture again, for at least 2 minutes. Ensure that the sago is completely translucent.
  6. Remove the cinnamon quill and cardamom pod and beat the sugar and butter into the warm mixture.
  7. Allow to cool slightly. Whisk eggs yolks, vanilla and grated nutmeg together and whisk it quickly into the cooled-down mixture.
  8. Pour into a buttered 2-litre dish.
  9. Half-fill a larger, shallow dish and place your sago dish in it to create a bain marie.
  10. Bake for 90 minutes until firm and golden brown.
  11. After baking, spread approximately ¼ cup apricot jam gently over the pudding. You can heat the jam somewhat to make it easier to spread, or simply dot the jam over the top.

To make the meringue:

  1. Add cream of tartar to egg whites and beat into soft mounds, while you gradually add 2 tablespoons sugar.
  2. Spread meringue over apricot jam topping.
  3. Bake for about 20 minutes until meringue is light golden brown on top.

Serve warm or cold.