SA foodies share recipes for their favourite custard-flavoured Diwali treats

by Tia

Every year, Diwali; also fondly referred to as the ‘Festival of Lights’ brings together thousands of South Africans in celebration of the triumph of light over darkness. Traditional Indian cuisine will feature prominently on tabletops across the country, as followers of the Hindu faith prepare to gather with family and friends and share a meal to mark the special occasion. For four of South Africa’s foodie influencers, dessert is a firm favourite.

You don’t have to be a culinary genius to serve up a homemade spread that will have everyone coming around for a taste-tester. And on Diwali, the recipe for success is in fact very simple – keep it sweet, with a dash of spice. Kershnee Kallee, Marketing Manager of Parmalat recommends using custard, which, as she explains is the one ingredient that every pantry needs.

“Its versatility is what South Africans enjoy most about custard. Whether you’re having it hot or cold, as a treat on its own or as a dessert topping, it’s got the smooth, creamy texture that we’ve come to associate with the ‘taste of home.’ So, whether you’re going big or keeping it intimate this Diwali, custard will serve up the perfect finish.

To give avid bakers and sweet treat enthusiasts some ideas ahead of the Diwali celebrations, four South African influencers have shared their custard-inspired desserts.

For content creator, Prev Reddy, nothing embodies the spirit of Diwali better than Gulab Jamuns, prepared with a dash of decadence that’s fit for the occasion. This recipe keeps it short and sweet and is super easy to prepare.



Store-bought Gulab Jamuns

For the icing mixture:

125g Parmalat Salted Butter (1/2 cup)

1 and ½ cups icing sugar

½ tsp ground elaichi

1 tbsp Klim (milk powder)

2 drops rose essence

1 tbsp fresh cream or milk

To dress:

Parmalat’s Vanilla Flavoured Custard


1. Beat butter until light in colour.

2. Add sugar and mix until creamy and combined and then add the rest of the ingredients.

Tee Pillay won’t enjoy her ice-cream any other way than with custard. This dessert is best prepared the day before Diwali for the best results – in Pillay’s opinion, it’s well worth the wait.



For the custard ice cream:

500ml Parmalat Fresh Cream

½ can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup Parmalat Vanilla Favoured Custard

For the caramel-burfee syrup:

1 cup sugar

1/6 Parmalat Salted Butter

½ cup whipping cream

½ tsp elachi powder

1 drop rose essence


1. Whip fresh cream until thick and can hold shape.

2. Mix in condensed milk.

3. Mix in 1 cup Parmalat Vanilla Flavoured Custard.

4. Pour mixture into a freezer-safe dish and freeze for 5-6 hours or overnight.

5. Melt sugar over medium-high heat. Stir constantly – lumps will form, turn brown, and eventually melt.

6. Add in butter once sugar has become a brown syrup. Butter will bubble and require constant stirring to combine with the sugar syrup.

7. Remove mixture from heat.

8. Add in whipping cream once butter and sugar resemble caramel. Stir until combined.

Also known as basbousa or hareesa in the Middle East, shamali in Armenia and gabelouze in France, soji cake is a crowd-favourite among lovers of Indian cuisine the world over. In this easy-to-follow recipe, Tamara Reddy gives us her take on a traditional treat.



1 cup semolina

1 cup cake flour

½ cup desiccated coconut

1 cup castor sugar

½ tsp elachi/cardamom powder

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla essence

250g Parmalat Salted Butter

1 cup milk

1 cup Parmalat Vanilla Flavoured Custard

For the sweetened whipped cream:

250ml cream

3 tbsp icing sugar

To dress:

Coloured almonds

Edible rose petals


1. To a large mixing bowl, add semolina, cake flour, desiccated coconut, castor sugar, cardamom powder, and baking powder. Mix well and set aside.

2. In a separate bowl, add 250g Parmalat Salted Butter and melt in the microwave. Add in milk, vanilla essence, and Parmalat Vanilla Flavoured Custard and mix until combined.

3. Add your wet mixture to your dry ingredients and mix well.

4. Grease a baking tin and pour in the mixture.

5. Bake at 180 degrees for 33-35 minutes.

6. Decorate with sweetened whipped cream, coloured almonds and edible rose petals.

Kajal Maharaj is no stranger to serving up wholesome meals and delicious desserts. This recipe combines a few Indian staple ingredients with a pinch of saffron, also known as the ‘sunshine spice.’



1 tbsp Parmalat Salted Butter

1 pinch of saffron

1 cup icing sugar

2 cups milk powder

1 cup condensed milk

½ cup Parmalat Vanilla Flavoured Custard


1. To a pot, add a tablespoon of rich and creamy Parmalat Salted Butter.

1. Bloom a pinch of saffron in a teaspoon of water.

3. Add saffron water, icing sugar, milk powder, condensed milk and Parmalat Vanilla Flavoured Custard to the mixture.

4. Cook the ingredients until thick and sticky and allow to set in a tray or silicone mould.

5. Cut into squares or remove from moulds.

6. Decorate with white chocolate and rose petals.

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