Desserts

Velvety dumplings with apple

(6 portions)

Apples

  • 400 g (500 ml) sugar
  • 175 ml water
  • 1 ml cream of tartar
  • 250 ml warm water
  • 4 large Granny Smith apples
  • 50 ml brandy or muscadel

Dumplings

  • 1 cinnamon stick and/or dried ginger
  • 3 pieces dried naartjie zest
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 litre milk
  • 45 ml corn flour
  • 45 ml custard powder
  • 45 ml cake flour
  • 1 ml salt
  • 3 extra-large eggs, separated
  • 1 ml almond essence
  • 5 ml vanilla essence

Finish

  • 60 ml Van der Hum liqueur
  • 105 g (125 ml) caster sugar
  • 10 ml ground cinnamon

Apples

Put sugar, water and cream of tartar in a saucepan and stir over low heat until sugar has dissolved. Raise temperature and heat to boiling point. Put lid on saucepan for 1 minute to “steam” clean the inside of the saucepan. Remove lid and keep cooking until mixture starts to colour. First it will be light yellow, then light brown and then a darker brown – the syrup is caramelising. I like a dark caramel, but be careful not to let the sugar burn. Remove from heat and carefully add warm water. It may splash, so take care. Return to heat and stir until you have a clear syrup. Turn off the heat and leave syrup to cool. Spoon the cooled syrup into a glass bowl or other microwaveable dish. Microwave 5 minutes at 100% power. Remove from microwave oven. Peel apples and cut into eights. Put into warm syrup immediately. Sprinkle with the brandy and cover with cling film. Pierce the cling film a few times and microwave 5 minutes at 50% power. Remove from microwave and stir lightly. Repeat. Set aside, preferably overnight. The apples will absorb the syrup and will become wonderfully caramelised.

Dumplings

Put the milk, cinnamon and/or ginger, naartjie zest and cardamom in a saucepan and heat for 30 minutes over low heat. Leave to cool. Pour through a sieve into a clean saucepan. Mix corn flour, custard powder, cake flour and salt. Mix with a bit of milk to form a smooth paste. Heat rest of milk until warm. Add some of the warm milk to flour paste and beat until smooth and free of lumps. Pour flour mixture into saucepan with warm milk. Keep stirring to form a thick porridge. Cook 2-3 minutes while stirring throughout. Remove from heat and immediately beat in the eggs one by one. Stir in almond essence and vanilla essence. Cover milk porridge tightly by putting waxed paper or cling film on the surface. The waxed paper or cling film should first be greased with butter to prevent the formation of a skin on the porridge. Leave to cool. Arrange apple slices in pudding bowls and divide syrup between the bowls. Using a large spoon, put dumplings in the middle of the apple slices. Pour 10 ml Van der Hum over each dumpling. Mix caster sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle on top.