• Prepare your taste buds for a sweet and syrupy journey through South African cuisine with this homemade Koeksisters recipe. These golden, twisted, and syrup-soaked treats are a beloved delicacy in South Africa, offering a delightful fusion of crunchy exteriors and sticky, sweet interiors.


    Serves: 10
    Cooking Time: 2 hrs + 2 hrs, to chill


    • DOUGH

    • 40g butter
    • 600g cake flour + extra, to roll
    • pinch salt
    • 30ml (2 tbsp) baking powder
    • 160ml water, mixed with 160ml milk
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • SYRUP

    • 1,76kg sugar
    • 1L (4 cups) water
    • 50ml lemon juice
    • 4 cinnamon quills
    • 10g fresh ginger, sliced
    • 2,5ml (½ tsp) cream of tartar
    • sunflower/canola oil, to deep-fry



    For the dough, rub the butter into the dry ingredients. Combine the wet ingredients and add to the dry ingredients.


    Mix to a soft, smooth dough using your hands. Cover with cling film and set aside to rest, at least 20 minutes (a few hours is ideal).


    For the syrup, bring all of the ingredients to a boil. Simmer, 5 minutes, remove from heat, transfer to 3 deep containers covered in cling film and place in the freezer to chill, 2 hours.


    To assemble the koeksisters, roll the dough out to 0,5cm thickness (using a little extra flour to aid rolling) and cut into rectangles of 10cm x 3cm. Cut either 2 or 3 slits into the length of each rectangle, leaving them joined at the top.


    Plait or twist and then secure the ends firmly by pinching the dough together. Do not stretch the dough while plaiting. Set aside to rest, at least 10 minutes.


    In a deep fat fryer or large, deep pot, heat the oil to 160˚C – 170˚C. Use a sugar thermometer to check the temperature of the oil if using a pot. Deep-fry the koeksisters until golden brown all around. Immediately submerge in the ice-cold syrup. Use the 3 containers of syrup alternatively, replacing the syrup that’s heated up with the cold syrup. Leave submerged in syrup until the next batch is done, then drain on a wire rack over a tray, catching excess syrup and reserving it for further use.

    Recipe supplied by Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandlesizwe Dalibhunga Mandela

    Styling by Anna Trapido

    Photograph by Curtis Gallon

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    Imka Webb

    Imka Webb is a freelance digital marketing expert and the digital editor of Food & Home Entertaining magazine.  www.imkawebb.com