Saturday, February 13, 2010

I Heart Koeksisters

You know how sometimes you come up with a really, really fabulous idea, and get all excited about it, then realise that somebody else already thought of it? When we got married, the Fabulous Man thought that it will be really special if we send our rings around the guests during the ceremony, so that everybody can bestow their good wishes on it. We discussed this with our celebrant, who said "Oh yes. A ring blessing ceremony." Turns out the custom has been around for ages and everybody's doing it. Everybody except those whose weddings we've been to, it seems. We still did it, and it was still special, but it would've been just that tiny bit more special if we were the couple who introduced this custom to the world.

Same with this koeksister recipe. Wouldn't it be nice to come up with a recipe for Valentines day which is quintessentially South African, but with a lovely romantic twist of my own, I thought. Like koeksisters. And different shaped ones. Maybe hearts instead of  the traditional plaited ones? Then, as I browsed the Sarie website, I came across these. Now, I realise they are round, not heart shaped, but still. I will never be able to say the alternative koeksister shape was my idea.

So let's just pretend we never saw these, and get all excited about my version. Have I mentioned that they're heart shaped? For Valentine's day? I also flavoured the syrup with rose water, cardamom and some cinnamon for a romantic twist, but you can keep it plain, by all means. You can also ignore the whole fabulous heart shape idea and plait your dough after cutting it into strips. Or do any shape you want, for that matter.

If you're not a South African, please visit the aptly named Cooksister, where Jeanne did a wonderful post on koeksisters here, for a thorough introduction. This recipe is the based on the above mentioned Sarie one, which I've translated here.

Valentines day koeksisters
Makes about 10

The syrup needs to be thoroughly chilled.

1 kg sugar
500 ml water
2 ml cream of tartar
1 cinnamon stick
3 cardamom pods, cracked
5 ml rose water, or to taste

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan, and bring to a boil while stirring. Cover with a lid, and let boil for one minute. Uncover, and boil for 4 more minutes. Remove from stove and let it cool. Keep in the fridge until needed.


240g (500 ml) flour
1 ml salt
10 ml baking powder
40 ml butter
1 egg
10 ml sugar
100 ml cold water
oil for deep frying

Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles crumbs.

Beat together the sugar, egg and water. Add to the dry ingredients, and mix until a soft dough forms. Cover and let rest in the fridge for at least 30 min.

Roll out the dough to 1 cm thick, and cut out your desired shapes. Cover until needed.

Heat the oil, and deep fry the koeksisters until golden brown. (I used some of the dough scraps to test the temperature of the oil)

Remove with a slotted spoon, and plunge into the ice cold syrup for about 1 minute, until the koeksisters are saturated.
Let  cool on a wire rack over some baking paper to drain excess syrup.

Enjoy ice cold.


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