Leap-year pudding – a curious, yet delicious creation

  • Share this story
Leap-year pudding – a curious, yet delicious creation

In case you missed it, 2016 is a leap year and the 29th of February rapidly approaching. One way to celebrate is with a bow of traditional skrikkeljaarpoeding.

Aren’t leap years just the darndest things? Back in the day, a couple of clever clods figured out that, in order for the calendar year to keep being perfectly synchronised with the astronomical year and seasons, you had to tack on an extra day to the end of February, every four years. The bad news? A proportion of the world’s population only get to have a ‘real’ birthday every four years. The good? You get to make skrikkeljaarpoeding. According to some antiquated custom, you also get to propose marriage if you’re a woman, but as the TASTE team is comprised out of emancipated women and enlightened men, we’re mentioning this merely as a curiosity.

Back to skrikkeljaarpoeding (the word ‘skrikkel’ means ‘jump’ in Afrikaans). Essentially, it’a a carb and sugar bomb of note: a spongy baked pudding is soaked in milk, glazed with apricot jam and topped with egg whites before being popped into the oven again until the meringue is nicely browned.

It’s basically a variation on the basic-sweet-sponge theme of most baked Afrikaans puddings, often said to have orginitated due to what the ladies of the house had rattling around their larders. In jongmanspoeding, for example, candied peel and sultanas were added to a basic sponge mix, while damespoeding featured currants, jam and brandy, and asynpoeding contained vinegar. The exact history of skrikkeljaarpoeding – as with most of its spongy contemporaries – is a bit of a mystery. One theory is that the pudding was so delicious and impressive-looking, it would no doubt make any suitor’s their resistance crumble when his lady friend proposed on leap day. Another, that it was so decadent, you could only properly enjoy it every four years. One thing is certain though. After your first bite – saucy, dense cakey goodness contrasted with airiness of merinuge – the culinary anthropologist in you takes a back seat as your tastebuds go into overdrive.


Annette Klinger Article by: Annette Klinger

Woolworths TASTE’s features writer maintains that almost any dish can be improved with butter and cream. She’s a stickler for comfort food, especially German treats that remind her of her late grandmother, such as pork schnitzel with sauerkraut and spätzlen. She is a voracious reader of food magazines and recipe books, and instinctively switches over to the cooking channel whenever she checks into a hotel or guesthouse.

Social Media

You might be interested in...


  • default
    March 1, 2016

    Hi Annette
    That’s the first time that I’ve ever heard of this pudding. Will you be able to post the recipe?