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Cook the classic koeksister

Master the art of this braided local heritage treat

Serves 12

Total time: 1 hour


For the syrup

Sugar 3 cups

Water 13/4 cups

Cream of tartar 1/2 tsp

Cinnamon sticks 2

Fresh ginger, sliced 2 cm

Lemon juice 2 tsp

For the dough

Flour 4 cups

Baking powder 2 tbsp

Salt 1/2 tsp

Butter, chopped 3 tbsp

Egg 1

Milk 1 cup

Vegetable oil, for frying


For the syrup

  1. Bring the sugar, water and cream of tartar to a boil in a pot over medium heat. Add the cinnamon, ginger and lemon juice. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Cool to room temperature, then divide the mixture between two bowls. Place in the freezer while you make the dough.

For the dough

  1. Sift together the dry ingredients. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Whisk together the egg and milk. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add in the egg mixture. Mix until a dough comes together.
  3. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth. Cover with cling film and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Grease a flat working surface and rolling pin. Roll the dough until 5 mm thick. Cut into 5 x 15 cm strips.
  5. Slice three strips from each one, leaving the top intact. Plait and then pinch the ends together.
  6. Heat enough oil to deep-fry over medium heat. Fry the koeksisters in batches for 6-7 minutes, until dark golden brown. Drain on kitchen towel.
  7. While hot, dip each koeksister into the chilled syrup with a slotted spoon, then arrange on a wire rack to allow excess syrup to drip off.

Did you know?

Shocking the hot koeksisters in ice-cold syrup creates a crispy crust with a soft interior.

Photography: Courtesy Images

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