Who says that all you can have while camping in remote beautiful places is chocolate or toasted marshmallows? Both are a winner, but sometimes there is nothing better than a yummy hot pudding. I am by no means a chef or cook extraordinaire but the reason I do these cooking posts, and pretty much all our camping posts, is to hopefully inspire. There is so much more that can be done than what we may have experienced that one really bad camping trip. So with all my blogs, I hope to show you that the average family, like us, can do some amazing things. And that camping doesn’t mean limitations to what we eat either. That you don’t have to be a whiz, but you can do some delicious simple meals and puddings. So this brings me to this post.
One of my favorites is malva pudding. It is a true South African winner of all things yummy, gooey and tasty. Think hot sticky toffee pudding but creamier. So I got to thinking after baking bread (beer bread recipe) and apple crumble on the fire (crumble recipe), why not other puddings? It’s creature comforts like these that can just make your trip feel a little bit like home and bring you that comfort.
So on our last trip to the Tankwa Karoo, I roped in my friend Wendy to assist with my first attempt at Malva Pudding on the fire. She is a cook extraordinaire, so always good to have someone like that as your sidekick. It was pretty chaotic with trying to braai dinner and keep hungry kids at bay. It is not a great pudding to do if you are setting up camp due to having quite a few elements to oversee. It would work better if you have time, so a spot where you are in camp for a few hours before dinner would be ideal and also when someone else will be overseeing the dinner.
What you will need:
A fire with lots of coals
This is because it will need 45-60mins on the fire and you need to rotate coals. Also helpful to heat some rocks in the fire that you can put them around the side of the pot furthest from the fire to heat up the sides of the pot. Also have a few smaller stones so that the pot is slightly off the coals which helps to prevent ‘hotspots’ and burning.
You will need a few slightly higher stones to rest your pot on. Be careful to only put a few coals underneath – you will need less than you think.
A dish that can go on the fire
When cooking on the fire a flat bottomed cast iron pot is pretty ideal. They are very heavy, so not always the most ideal things to take along. We always take our cast iron bread pot as it isn’t too big and our flat bottomed aluminium pot which works as my larger dish for rice, pasta etc. So far I have found that cast iron is definitely the best way to go on the fire.
For this attempt the cast iron bread pot was too small, so I used our aluminium flat based pot. It gets hot a lot quicker, so you have to watch the coals and keep rotating it regularly. It is also a lot thinner, so can tend to burn very easily.
Your favorite Malva Pudding Recipe
I use one a friend of mine suggested but I wasn’t going to type it all out, so here is one I found if you need one (recipe link)
- 1 cup castor sugar
- 2 eggs (room temp)
- 1 tablespoon smooth apricot jam
- 1 ¼ cups cake flour
- 1 teaspoon bicarb of soda (5ml)
- pinch salt
- 2 tablespoons butter (30ml)
- 1 tablespoon vinegar (15ml)
- 125ml milk
- 250ml cream
- 125ml butter
- 125ml sugar
- 125ml water
Set oven to 190°C
- Beat castor sugar and eggs until fluffy then beat in the jam until a creamy consistency
- Sift dry ingredients into separate bowl.
- Melt butter in a small pot on a medium heat and add the vinegar and milk
- Now add the above mixture (butter, milk, eggs) to the sifted ingredients and mix well. Now add the eggs mixture and combine well.
- Pour into an ovenproof casserole dish that takes about 2 liters.
- Bake at 190°C for 45 mins until the top is nicely browned.
- Melt all the sauce ingredients together in a small pot over a medium heat and pour over the pudding before serving, preferably while it’s still hot.
- Serve it with ice-cream or custard or both.
Making and Mixing
Camping brings its limitations on what you can take along. So a large mixing bowl and whisks and various measuring cups aren’t exactly top priorities.
I generally keep a 125ml measuring cup and a rubber whisk in my camping kit. Ironically somehow my whisk had grown wings and disappeared, which was almost an epic fail as I hadn’t checked till we started prepping. Nothing worse than lumpy mixture…eugh! And it is not like shops are right around the corner either. For your mixing bowl, you can use your general cooking pot to mix if you don’t have space for a plastic one. Wendy was a she-Gyver (a better version of McGuyver) though and we used her shake mixer which worked a charm. This trip was only a week away, so we had more space in the trailer which enabled me to bring along my little scale to make my life easier.
Another staple I now take along is baking paper. There will invariable be a spot or two that gets a bit burned, whether it be with bread, potato bake or your pudding. And cleaning these pots can be a pain, especially if you have limited water. So lining with baking paper make a messy job so much easier to deal with.
Side note: if you crunch the baking paper up into a ball before using it to line whatever dish, it is then so much easier to manage. You can then fit it in to the edges etc and it doesn’t keep curling out of the dish 🙂
Ready, set and cook
Your batter is prepared, your coals are ready and your dish is lined. Pour your batter into your pot and pop it on your small stones over some coals near the fire. If you have some larger warm rocks, put those on the outside and then pop some coals on the lid. You will need to monitor and change out the coals underneath and on top and rotate the pot so that alternating sides are near the fire. Again, you need far fewer coals underneath than you think. You can always add more heat as you go rather than starting too hot. It will take roughly an hour…well mine did. Don’t forget to prep the sauce so you don’t have to scramble when it comes off the fire.
A great time to put it on is just before you start braaing. It will then be ready after supper so that when you finish eating dinner you can take it off the fire and pour on the sauce, put the lid back on and eat when ready.
Eat and Enjoy!!!!
I hope you are in a beautiful place with an amazing view and fabulous company and that this brings a little bit of home with you.
Good luck and let me know if there are any other amazing recipes that are easy and yummy that can be done on the fire.
This recipe and the Breakfast in the Bush were cooked on our trip to the Tankwa National Park. A truly incredible place with limited to no cell reception, beautiful vistas and stars that feel like they are right within reach. I can’t recommend it enough. We bush camped for a night and felt humbled by the beauty that surrounded us.
I hope you experience God’s beauty and majesty this year while adventuring and exploring this amazing place we get to call home.
Some pics from the Tankwa xxx