If there was ever a koeksister fanatic, it is my Mother. She has a permanent stock of koeksisters in her freezer (she believes they taste better when kept really cold), and she is on personal terms with all of her suppliers. She likes her koeksisters to be hard and crispy on the outside, and really syrupy on the inside. Me, on the other hand, like koeksisters to be a bit softer, but still very syrupy – nobody likes a dry koeksister!
OK, so for those who are still asking: what the heck are these golden brown plaited stuff? They are a traditional South African deep-fried sweet delicacy: plaited dough, deep-fried to perfection, dropped in lemony sugar syrup while still piping hot, then cooled and eaten chilled at teatime or for dessert. I remember when I was still at school we had a woman in our neighbourhood, Tannie Doepsie, who made the best koeksisters around. She would keep dozens of bags filled with koeksisters in her chest freezer at home, and you could buy directly from her. My Mom would send us over regularly to buy a few packets at a time, devouring a packet on our way home and saving the rest for tea time.
Obviously we didn’t even think of counting kilojoules back them. These days koeksisters are NOT for the feint hearted, health conscious, or anyone watching their sugar intake. But if you like to indulge every now and then, koeksisters are the ULTIMATE old-fashioned South African treat.
This was my first attempt at making koeksisters. I used a recipe from Sasko’s fantastic little cookbook: “Show your goodness with recipes from Sasko”. Each recipe has step-by-step pictures, making it very easy to follow. The book is available at most book stores in South Africa.
Ingredients for the syrup:
- 500 ml white sugar
- 375 ml water
- 15 ml lemon juice
Ingredients for the dough:
- 375 ml Sasko Flour
- 30 ml baking powder
- 1 ml salt
- 20 g cold butter
- 150 ml milk
- 750 ml cooking oil
- Put the sugar and water into a small pot over medium heat. Stir to dissolve.
- Simmer gently, uncovered, for 7-8 minutes. Take the pot off the stove and stir in lemon juice. Set aside while you make the dough.
- Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Cut the butter into small blocks and rub into the flour with your fingertips until it looks like fine breadcrumbs.
- Pour the milk into the flour mixture. Use a table knife to gently mix the ingredients together to form a dough.
- Roll the dough out, cut into narrow strips and plait koeksisters into familiar shapes.
- Deep fry the koeksisters on medium heat in batches of 3-4 untill golden brown.
- Lift the koeksisters out with a slotted spoon and drop immediately into the lukewarm syrup.
- Allow koeksisters to drain on a wire rack. Serve cold. (they keep very well in the freezer)
Tip: Brush the koeksisters with more syrup when they are completely cooled. This way they look very shiny and beautiful when you serve them to your friends!