Making koeksisters the traditional way is time-consuming. Many thus avoid making this delectable traditional pastry at home. Fortunately, that does not have to be the case. These here are made from the very versatile 2-ingredient dough. This dough can be used for just about anything you can think of: flatbreads, doughnuts, pizzas and cinnamon buns.
Koeksisters are plaited strips of dough that are deep-fried and then, whilst they are still warm, dunked in ice-cold syrup. The key to is in the syrup. It must be cold, very cold. And the koeksisters must be hot, added to the syrup immediately after it has been taken from the hot oil. Ideally, one should make the syrup the day before it’s needed and keep it in the fridge over-night.
It is possible that koeksisters originated from Crullers, a Dutch confectionary that dates back to the fifteenth century. The original recipe did not call for syrup. Instead, Crullers were rolled in cinnamon sugar.
Koeksisters should not be confused with the Cape Malay koesisters. The latter is made with spices added to the dough is rolled in desiccated coconut flakes after being dunked in syrup. Both are cultural icons and have been a focus for academic studies dealing with culture and identity.
Easy KoeksistersCourse: Confectionary, RecipesCuisine: South AfricanDifficulty: Easy
- The syrup
500 grams sugar
400 millilitres water
4 tablespoons lemon juice
3 2 cm pieces fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
5 pieces dry orange peel
- The koeksister dough
1 kilogram self-raising flour
850 grams plain Greek yoghurt
2 litres vegetable oil (for deep frying)
- The key to making good koeksisters is to keep the syrup as cold as possible. It is, therefore, best to make the syrup a day ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator right up until it is needed. Always dunk your warm, just fried koeksister into ice-cold syrup. Use more than one batch of syrup if you can, that way you always have a cold batch on standby.
- Place the water and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to the boil. Once the syrup begins to boil, add the lemon juice, the cream of tartar, the orange peel and ginger and reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow simmering for 10 minutes. Once the syrup is done, remove it from the heat and allow to cool. Put it in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours before using it. Keeping it in the refrigerator overnight is even better.
- To make the koeksisters, sift the flour and gently fold in the yoghurt with a spatula until the mixture forms a dough. Once a dough has formed, move the dough to a floured surface, and knead the dough by hand for 5-8 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour, a little at a time, and knead until smooth. You can also do this with a stand mixer and a dough hook.
- Roll out the dough to 5mm in thickness. Cut the dough into strips 6cm long by 1cm wide. Lay three strips over each other at one end and press together, then plait, pinching together at the other end to seal.
- Heat the oil to 180°C, then deep-fry the koeksisters, a few at a time, turning often, until golden and cooked through. Once cooked, remove the koeksisters from the oil with a slotted spoon and dunk into the cold syrup. Use a potato masher to keep the koeksisters submerged if needed. Then remove them and place them on a cooling rack over a sheet pan to cool down further.
- Please note: Take care not to transfer any of your syrup into the oil as the sugar in the syrup will burn can cause the oil to become bitter as a result.
- Koeksisters freeze well in an airtight container and excess syrup can also be frozen.