Tipsy tart on turkey day

I think you have to have been born American to get pumpkin pie. I mean, seriously, guys, eeuw! That stuff is the exact color and consistency of baby poop, and pumpkin is a vegetable, for crying out loud! Strange enough that you put together jello and marshmallows and call it a salad – I mean, I’m completely down with starting any meal with dessert, so I think jello salad is a great idea. But pumpkin as dessert? Oh hell no! That stuff needs to be baked or boiled and served hot, with a dash of salt and a dollop of butter and maybe just the lightest sprinkle of cinnamon, and piled alongside a generous serving of bredie or oxtail. Yum!

So anyway, today, having volunteered to contribute dessert to a friend’s Thanksgiving dinner, I went back to my Soustannie roots to find something easy enough that even I can’t screw it up, and delicious regardless of which side of the Atlantic your palate got educated. What could be better for a cold-weather holiday feast than that traditional South African favorite, Cape brandy pudding, aka tipsy tart? And since my housewifely moments are rare, and therefore deserving of their own celebration, I am sharing the recipe here.

Tipsy tart
Tipsy tart. No vegetables were harmed in the taking of this picture.


2 cups raisins and chopped dates, mixed and halved
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans for preference)

Add boiling water and bicarb to half the dates and raisins, stir, and set aside to cool.
Cream butter and sugar, add beaten eggs, and mix well.
Sift dry ingredients and fold into the egg mixture.
Stir in dry fruit and nuts, then add soaked fruit mixture. Mix well.
Pour into large dish or two tart plates. (I use a pyrex dish, 8x8x2 inches. A deeper corningware dish would also work well.)
Bake 30 – 40 mins at 350F, 180C, until you can insert a sharp knife and it comes out clean.


Start this about 10 minutes before you take the tart out of the oven.

3 T butter
2.5 cups sugar
1.5 cups water
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
Pinch salt
1 cup brandy

In a saucepan, bring the butter, sugar and water to the boil. Boil fast, stirring to prevent it from boiling over, 3-5 mins.
Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients.
Pour over tart as soon as you take it out of the oven. You will need to pour slowly, giving it time to soak in. Use a knife to push the tart away from the sides of the container so that sauce can run down and soak in from the sides. Stick a knife in the top of the tart at intervals to encourage it to soak in. The deeper the dish, the easier it will be to use all the sauce.

Serve hot with ice cream or cream, or cold with whipped cream.

So now you know how it’s done, folks, and you don’t have to torture any more poor unassuming pumpkins. Let them celebrate their vegetable nature, and allow your mouth to savor the best of boerekos (aka soul food the way we do it at the south end of Africa).

Author: Belladonna Took

Well into my second half-century and still trying to figure out what to be when I grow up. Born South African, naturalized American, perpetually at risk of losing my balance and landing ass-first in the Atlantic.

33 thoughts on “Tipsy tart on turkey day”

  1. For those readers who say WHAT is “Bredie” ? ! ? ! ? ….. Well, that’s just the South African word for “Stew”. Otherwise… I have the following “Wordz of Wizdom” from ‘n Boer van Amerika Uit (ie – from the Yankee Farmer married to the American Soustannie)… Tipsy Tart is GOOD EATIN’ – “You betchum Red Rider ! !” as Little Beaver (Red Ryder’s young Indian sidekick) used to say on their afternoon radio shows in the 1940’s.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Only … bredie is better than stew, in the same way that biltong is better than jerky, koeksusters are better than donuts, and braai is better than barbecue! (Don’t argue with me. First, you know it’s true. And second, this is my blog so I’m the boss here!)


  2. Hmmm! The in-laws are coming for a visit and I have oxtail bredie slated for Sunday lunch. Now you have me thinking tipsy-tart for dessert might be just the way to go.

    I’m with you on the whole pumpkin-for-dessert thing (and what’s with everyone over there putting it in their coffee???), but what about pampoenkoekies? And you can make a very yummy salad with marshmallows, apples, banana, and condensed milk and mayonnaise in equal parts. It’s got fruit, so it’s really a salad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tipsy tart is the BEST! Right up there with peppermint crisp tart, which I can’t make because the bloody Americans haven’t yet invented peppermint crisp. I’ve never had pampoenkoekies, and I don’t think I want to … and as for the “salad” … listen, fruit salad is a salad and you eat it with ice cream, after the meal. In other words, it is salad in name but it is DESSERT. Unless you’re American, in which case you eat it as a side dish and you probably leave out the bananas and pawpaw and overload with melon, and really, just why bother? But I digress… What I was starting to say is, the yummy thing you describe does indeed sound delicious, but no, it’s not salad. Salad is sousboointjies, or coleslaw, or grated carrots and pineapple, or anything involving lettuce. If it contains marshmallows, it’s dessert.


      1. No peppermint crisp? That settles it. I’m never emigrating 😀

        That particular salad doesn’t go well with ice cream (I blame the mayonnaise), so I maintain it’s not dessert. What it does go great with is braaivleis and pap en sous. And then you have a regular fruit salad with ice cream afterwards.

        Great. Now I want to braai. I don’t think that’s appropriate at 7:30 in the morning if one isn’t camping…


        1. Americans – at any rate here in the Pacific Northwest – are pretty clueless about chocolate. The selection is really small, and you never know when you’re going to find yourself with an unintended mouthful of peanut butter.

          And … come on. Haul out the skottel and braai up some scrambled eggs and tomato and sausages. Lekker!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Ooooh yum. No Thanksgiving please, we’re British. (I mean, I’m all for giving thanks, but it’s not a festival we celebrate.) But nobody in my family likes Christmas pudding (is Christmas pud just a British thing? Pardon my ignorance) so I’m thinking tipsy tart for dessert on Christmas day, or eve. Mmmm.

    I had to google bredie before I saw the top comment and now I fancy some of that too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love Christmas pud – but my grandmother was a Brit, and so I grew up with the tradition of turning off the lights, watching the flaming pudding enter the room, and then eating veeerrrryyy carefully so as not to bite down too hard on our silver money. That said … yerrsss, tipsy tart tastes way better!


    2. Hello Liz… Here’s a recipe for South African Oxtail Bredie (Oxtail Stew)…. Serves six


      1 cup chopped celery
      1 teaspoon minced garlic
      1 small can tomato paste
      2 cubes beef bouillon
      10 cups water
      6 whole black peppercorns
      2 bay leaves
      1/4 cup canola oil
      1.5 kg beef oxtail, cut into pieces
      1 large onion, chopped
      salt and pepper to taste
      1 (340-360 gm) can kidney beans, drained
      1/4 cup cornstarch dissolved in
      1/2 cup water


      Place celery, garlic, tomato paste, bouillon cubes, and water into a large Potjie or Dutch oven; stir until the tomato paste has dissolved. Add peppercorns and bay leaves, place over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
      Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oxtail and cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove oxtail from hot oil and place into Potjie/Dutch oven. Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of oil from the skillet, reduce heat to medium, and cook the onion until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes; add to oxtail.
      Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 2 1/2 hours. Season with salt and pepper, recover, and continue to cook until the oxtail is tender, but not falling off of the bone, about 30 minutes.
      Remove oxtail pieces and place into a serving dish. Add kidney beans to the Potjie/Dutch oven and return to a simmer. Thicken with cornstarch dissolved in water, simmer for 1 minute until thickened and clear. Pour sauce over the oxtail.

      1) Oxtail should be ready when a knife slices easily through the meat. It should not be overcooked otherwise it will fall off the bones and go stringy – and if not cooked long enough it will not come off the bones easily enough. Normally one should find 3 hours cooking just perfect.
      2) POTJIE translation: “Potjie” means “Pot” – In South Africa it is a cast-iron, three-legged cauldron. Yankees often refer to it as a ‘Witches Pot’ as it is the type of pot one sees in the cinema where the evil witch stands over it whilst murmuring an incantation such as in the Shakespearean play of Macbeth (

      Enjoy ! !

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Live and work at home and commented:
    This just looks so delicious that I can’t resist sharing. I’ve added it to my mental list for Christmas eve or Christmas day, because we don’t ‘do’ Christmas pud in our house; nobody would eat it. Enjoy, and let me know (and Belladonna, whose recipe it is) if you actually make it!


  5. I think you’ve spoken for many of our British friends on the subject of pumpkin pie, but for our slightly misplaced Thanksgiving party (we’re celebrating on Saturday) I’m making two anyway. It’s like brussels sprouts on a British Christmas: People don’t have to like them, but you have to serve them anyway.

    Happy delayed Thanksgiving.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Most people push them around their plates and pretend they tasted them. Painting them and hanging them on the tree might work, but as far as I know you’re the first person who’s thought of it. I’ll have to see if I can’t get it to catch on.

        A lot of Americans I know feel the same way about fruitcake at Christmas. You know: Someone gives you one and you look around for someone else you can give it to. Me, though, I like brussels sprouts and fruitcake. Preferably not together, though.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. To be honest, I like brussels sprouts too. I just find it hard to see them as Necessary Christmas Fare. That’s just so random … I mean, why not leeks?

          My fruitcake (actually my grandmother’s recipe, and she probably inherited it from someone) is amazing. I will be posting that recipe as soon as I get them baked. Meant to do it Halloween weekend … Oh well, Thanksgiving weekend will just have to do. But yes, I’ve noticed that Americans have an odd attitude toward Christmas cake, and am extremely cautious about who gets one of mine. It may be heavy enough for a doorstop but it is most definitely intended to be eaten!

          Liked by 1 person

    1. My family is primarily of “Pennsylvania Dutch” origin…. Rather than pumpkin pie, we often had Sweet Potato Pie (actually, it tastes and looks almost exactly the same)

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Sweet Tater Pie is EZ…

          Boil sweet potato whole in skin for 40 to 50 minutes, or until done. Run cold water over the sweet potato, and remove the skin.
          Break apart sweet potato in a bowl. Add butter, and mix well with mixer. Stir in sugar, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Pour filling into an unbaked pie crust.
          Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 55 to 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Pie will puff up like a souffle, and then will sink down as it cools.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I’ve had sweet potato pie, and it’s wonderful. (Also bean pie, which is great.) I can manage the sugar and spices by guesswork, but how much milk and how many eggs?


          2. SWEET POTATO PIE RECIPE (Makes one – 9″ pie)

            1 (1 pound) sweet potato
            1/2 cup butter, softened
            3/4 cup brown or raw sugar
            1/2 cup milk
            2 eggs, lightly beaten
            1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
            1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
            1 teaspoon vanilla extract
            1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
            Boil sweet potato whole in skin for 40 to 50 minutes, or until done. Run cold water over the sweet potato, and remove the skin.
            Break apart sweet potato in a bowl. Add butter, and mix well with mixer. Stir in sugar, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Pour filling into an unbaked pie crust.
            Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 55 to 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Pie will puff up like a souffle, and then will sink down as it cools.
                                Comparison of Calories - Sweet Potato Pie vs Pumpkin Pie

            One slice of sweet potato pie (1/8th of a pie) can contain over 327 calories and contain as much as 49 percent saturated fat. Depending on what extras are being added into the pie, the calories per slice can rise dramatically. For one slice of pumpkin pie, there are over 300 calories and in some versions of pumpkin pie, over half of these calories are from fat.


          3. BTW – “Bean Pie” uses the same recipe as Sweet Potato Pie… just substitute beans for the sweet-taters.


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