Sago plum pudding


  • 50g (1/4 cup) sago
  • 250ml (1 cup) milk
  • 225g (1 cup) white granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup raisins (or sultanas)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract (or substitute vanilla extract, ground nutmeg or mixed spice)
  • 90g (1 1/2 cups) breadcrumbs made from 2-day-old white bread, crusts removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • boiling water


This pudding is among the many dessert dishes from the early 1900s found in the manuscripts held at Meroogal. It is by no means an 'instant pudding' – the sago needs to be soaked for several hours and the pudding itself needs to steam for 3 hours – but it keeps very well and can be made in advance. The lengthy cooking time creates a rich treacle-like flavour.

Serves 4–6


Soak the sago in the milk overnight in the fridge.

Grease a 1-litre (4-cup) capacity pudding basin, or equivalent smaller bowls, with butter. Cut a round of baking paper the same size as the rim of the bowl. Prepare a double layer of foil to form a 2-cm pinch pleat along the centre, allowing for pressure as the pudding cooks. Put a trivet in the base of a saucepan that is deep enough to hold the pudding basin while still able to be covered with the saucepan lid.

Mix the sugar, butter, raisins, lemon extract, breadcrumbs and a pinch of salt together in a mixing bowl.

Stir the bicarbonate of soda into the milk and sago mixture then add to the dry ingredients, mixing all together lightly. Pour the mixture into the pudding basin. Cover the surface of the pudding with the paper and cover the basin with the foil, tying securely with string.

Put the basin on the trivet in the pan and add enough boiling water to reach halfway up the side of the basin to create a water bath. Cover the pan and boil the pudding for 3 hours, topping up with boiling water as needed.
Remove the basin from the pan and allow the pudding to rest for 30 minutes before serving.

For a more rustic dessert, serve the pudding straight from the bowl or, if turning it out onto a plate, run a spatula around the sides of the bowl before inverting it to ensure the pudding comes out intact. Delicious with custard or ice-cream.
COOK'S TIP: A pudding bowl with a fitted lid makes the steaming process easier, but foil works just as well.

This recipe appeared in the post Sago plum pudding on June 15, 2016.

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