Recipe for Puddina (Maltese pudding)

Over a weekend of hot, humid weather I decided to stay indoors and do what any other red blooded Aussie male would do; bake. Having recently watched an episode of SBS’s Food Safari dedicated to Maltese food, I thought I’d try my luck at a Puddina recipe by Rita O’Dwyer. For those that don’t know it, Puddina is a dessert similar to that old British favourite bread and butter pudding.

In keeping with the spirit of Maltese cooking, I altered the recipe to make use of what we had lying around, so the actual recipe turned out to be:

Pat’s Puddina


  • 1/2 loaf of ‘day old’ bread
  • 3-4 stale Wheatbix
  • 180g sugar
  • 1 tbsp custard powder
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp Cadbury’s drinking chocolate
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 5 boxes Sunrise dried “Apples and Sultanas” (approx 260g)
  • 50g almonds, old
  • 50g cashews, old
  • 80g red licorice, chopped coarsely
  • Few drops of vanilla essance
  • 2 tbsp sweet sherry


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C (fan-forced)
  2. Tear bread into small pieces and soak in cold water for 15 minutes along with Wheatbix
  3. Place bread/Wheatbix mix in a colander and mash with hands, letting most liquid drain
  4. Transfer to a large bowl and add sugar, custard powder, cornflour and drinking chocolate
  5. Stir in beaten egg and mix well with wooden spoon
  6. Add dried fruit, cashews, half of the almonds and half the licorice
  7. Add vanilla and sherry
  8. Pour into a baking dish and decorate with remaining licorice and almonds
  9. Bake for 35-40 minutes (check by piercing with a toothpick – should be fairly dry inside)

The bread I used was Pana de Casa, this was as close to “good crusty Maltese bread” as I could find. It was still quite fresh so I ‘staled’ it in the oven for about 5 minutes. I added the Wheatbix because we had some lying around and weren’t going to eat them, but it’s also a good gimmick. All the other ‘unusual’ ingredients are substitutions for what Rita suggested, based on what we had lying around (in most cases close to the used-by date).

This took very little time to prepare, and I reckon kids would love making (and eating) it. Especially the mashing of the bread. Not sure about the Sherry though, might need a substitute if the kiddies will be partaking.

I was very happy with the results, served both hot and cold. However, Jenn wouldn’t touch it. Said the smell made her feel ill. Hmmm, and she’s the Maltese one! Must be the pregnancy talking :)

Now on to something more challenging, Timpana perhaps.