A sweet finale is the ultimate end to a delicious dinner and Sago pudding is one of those comfort desserts. This warm winter pudding is a firm South African favourite.
So rich and creamy it is one of my favourite go-to desserts. It is a delicious end to any meal, not too sweet but perfectly creamy. This recipe has been adapted from @keletso.motau’s.


Ingredient Notes

  • Milk – Full Cream is Best
  • Sago vs Tapioca – Tapioca comes from Cassava – a long root of a vegetable. Sago is made from the pith of the Sago palm. For this recipe I prefer Sago.
  • Sugar – White granulated sugar
  • Vanilla Extract or Vanilla Bean Paste-Pure vanilla extract or bean paste to give it an extra boost of flavour, but you can use any kind of vanilla extract you can find.
  • Custard Powder – To help thicken the filling.
  • Cream – Whipping or pouring cream is fine
  • Eggs – X-Large is best
  • Mandarins vs Clementines –Both work beautifully as long as they are seedless
  • Serving Size – 6-8

What is Tempering

Tempering is a term used in cooking when an ingredient needs to be stabilized. This technique is used when combining ingredients that are each at completely different temperatures. In the kitchen, for instance, when a hot liquid like soup or stock is mixed directly with a cold item like cream or sour cream or eggs, the cold product will tend to curdle as the soup’s heat coagulates the proteins in the dairy. Tempering is used to avoid this from happening.

Tempering slowly increases the heat of the cold ingredient so its temperature gradually rises and becomes more compatible with the temperature of the hot ingredient (which essentially slowly cools down when it comes in contact with the cold food).

When to use Vanilla Bean  Paste instead of Vanilla Extract

A question you may have asked yourself is vanilla bean paste better than vanilla extract? The short answer is that it depends on what recipe you’re baking. Pure Vanilla Extract and Pure Vanilla Paste use the same high-quality vanilla beans, but they have slightly different applications thanks to the differences in consistency and the addition of vanilla bean specks in the paste.

Vanilla bean paste is made using high-quality vanilla extracts but includes real vanilla seeds as well as a natural thickener to change the consistency. It is best to use vanilla bean paste when you really want vanilla to be the star of the recipe, like this delicious classic creamy sago pudding.


5 from 1 reviews
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: South African
  • 4 Cups Milk
  • ¾ Cup Sago (which has been soaked in water for at least an hour )
  • 2 Whole Cinnamon Sticks
  • ½ Tsp Ground Cardamom
  • ½ Cup Sugar
  • 2 Tsps Vanilla Bean Paste or Vanilla Extract
  • 100 gr Butter (Divided)
  • 2 Tsps Custard Powder (Mixed With A ¼ Cup Of Cream)
  • 4 X-Large Eggs (lightly beaten)
For the Topping
  • 4 Mandarins Peeled and Sliced in Half
  • ¼ Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 Cup Water
  1. Preheat the oven at 160° Celsius.
  2. Grease a large ovenproof dish
  3. Over medium heat boil milk, sago, cinnamon sticks, cardamom powder, sugar and vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract until thick and the sago is translucent.
  4. Add two-thirds of the butter and stir in well. Simmer for a few more minutes until the butter is completely dissolved, then remove from the heat.
  5. Add the custard powder mix to the milk mixture and stir through.
  6. Take about 3 or 4 soup ladles of the sago mixture and add it one ladle at a time to the beaten eggs. This is called tempering.
  7. Add the mixture back into the pot and stir through thoroughly until well combined.
  8. Remove the cinnamon sticks and pour the mixture into the ovenproof dish, dot pieces of the leftover butter over the pudding.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 – 35 minutes, until set and the pudding, is lightly brown on top.
  10. Meanwhile, peel and halve the mandarins. Place the sugar and cinnamon stick in a saucepan with the water and bring to a simmer.
  11. When the syrup is slightly sticky add the fruit to the syrup and cook over medium-low heat for approx 10 minutes or until the fruit is lightly cooked.
  12. Spoon the mandarins and the syrup over baked sago and serve hot.
  13. Serves 6-8!