This is the Famous Sago Pudding recipe. It's based on the Golden Wattle recipe, as modified by my grandmother Madge Heitman, and as adapted by me over years. I made the frst one when I was about 16, and it was my standard offering at family feasts and special occasions.
1 packet sago
9 free-range eggs
2 litres reduced-fat milk
600 ml cream
Lots of caster sugar
Vanilla, almond and lemon essences
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Soak sago in a bowl of cold water for 4 hours
Heat up milk, cream and 50g butter in a very large saucepan or stockpot with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. When blended and very hot (not boiling), remove from heat. Drain the sago in a large sieve, and shake out excess water. Add sago to milk and commence stirring.
Keep stirring, it takes a while for the sago to thicken the milk and coat the spoon. About 15 minutes is usual, sometimes there's a hiss when the mixture is quite thickened. Stir well and remove from heat.
Separate the eggs. To the yolks, at 50g of butter and around 6 tablespoons of caster sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla essence, several drops of almond and lemon essence. Mix well and add to sago mixture. Stir in well and let the mixture thcken in the pot as you prepare the egg whites.
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
Beat the eggwhites until peaks form, then slowly add 6 or so tablespoons of caster sugar, an electric egg beater makes firm meringue-like peaks. Spoon one tablespoon into the sago mixture and mix well.
Pour the sago mixture into one or two large casserole dishes. Top with the eggwhites, spreading the meringue over the whole of the pudding.
Put the casserole dish in a baking dish half-full with water. This will stop the pudding from getting too hot while it cooks.
Put the baking dish in the oven and give it 20 minutes or so - the meringue should be just golden. Remove from oven and serve warm. Remaining pudding should be refrigerated and will last a couple of days. It may be warmed-up in a microwave or eaten cold.