Grandma’s Steamed Fruit and Sago Pudding with Real Custard

Words Wayne Good, Images Ashlee DeCaires


Sometimes, when it’s cold and miserable, you just want some comfort food, or you just want to eat a memory. This recipe is just that, a childhood memory for me, that is just so good, hence why it is memorable. My birthday falls mid-winter, and I would always ask Mum to make this for me as a birthday treat.

Mum had a great term for this pudding, “a real rib sticker”. And indeed, a little goes a long way.

It does take a wee bit of planning, and it is important to start this recipe the day before, with the soaking of the sago in the milk. Also, you want to use really good quality, large raisins, so I like to use the raisin medley from Vetro in Hamilton.

Do not let your childhood memories of gloopy sago puddings put you off from giving this recipe a go, and yes, do make the real custard. You will never make packet custard again!


Steamed Fruit and Sago Pudding

¾ cup sago

1½ cups milk

1¼ cups fresh breadcrumbs (white or grainy bread is fine)

1 cup raisin medley (available from Vetro Hamilton)

½ cup prunes

zest of a lemon

1 cup dark muscovado sugar

1 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp melted butter

½ tsp baking soda mixed with 1 tbsp milk


The day before, place the sago and 1½ cups of milk in a bowl and set aside in the fridge.

The following day, add remaining ingredients and mix really well.

Place the pudding mixture into a greased medium sized pudding basin. Do not cover the basin.

Place the pudding basin into a large pot or pressure cooker. Add water to the pot, about a third of the way up the side of the pudding basin.

Steam for 3 hours (or 45 minutes pressured). Check from time to time that the pot is not boiling dry.

Once cooked, turn out onto your serving plate and serve with real custard and liquid cream.

(This pudding freezes well.)


Real Custard

250ml milk

250ml cream

¼ cup caster sugar

3 tbsp cornflour

1 vanilla pod, split in half

2 egg yolks

1 egg

2 tbsp butter, softened


Place the milk, cream, vanilla pod and half the sugar into a pan. Place onto the hob and bring to JUST under the boil. Remove the vanilla pod.

In a separate bowl, add the remaining sugar, with the egg yolks, whole egg and cornflour, and lightly beat with a whisk. Add half a cup of the hot milk/cream, beating all the time with your whisk.

Pour this back into the remaining milk/cream. Place onto a gentle heat and continue to whisk until your custard thickens.

Remove from the heat immediately and place into a clean bowl. Place the softened butter on top of the custard. This helps to stop a skin forming on your custard. Prior to serving, whisk the butter into the custa

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