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Try the Sweet Taste of South Africa in Your Own Home

Koeksister is a traditional South African sweet which can be served as a desert or as a snack. Read along to find out how you can get a bit of South Africa to your own kitchen.

This is what you’ll need.


  • 650g of caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 wide lemon rind strips


  • 450g of self-raising flour
  • 1 egg
  • 125ml of milk
  • Vegetable oil, to deep fry
  • 80g of butter, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of mixed spice


At first, you’ll want to make the syrup. Combine all syrup ingredients with 500ml of water in a saucepan and put the heat on medium.
Stir until the sugar has dissolved and turn the heat up. Wait until the syrup is simmering and cooking, leave it for 3 minutes after which you pour it into a heat resistant bowl. Place in the fridge until it is chilled.

For the dough, put the flour, butter, sugar, and mixed spice into a bowl. Blend until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Then, add the egg, milk, a pinch of table salt, and 60ml of water. Continue processing until a soft dough forms. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it gently until it becomes smooth. Shape it into a disc, cover it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for 1 hour to allow it to cool down.

Dust a surface lightly with flour, flatten the dough into a rectangle measuring 25 x 40cm. Neatly trim the edges. Divide the rectangle into quarters, and then cut each quarter lengthwise into 4 thin rectangles, resulting in a total of 16 thin rectangles. Beginning 0.5cm from the top short edge of each rectangle, make three lengthwise cuts to form strips. Weave the strips together and seal the ends by pinching them together.

Fill a large, deep saucepan halfway with oil. Heat the saucepan over medium-high heat until it reaches 180°C according to a cook’s thermometer (refer to tip). Fry the doughnuts in batches of four, cooking each side for 2-3 minutes or until they turn golden brown and are cooked through. Place the fried doughnuts on a tray lined with paper towels to drain, and while they are still hot, quickly submerge them in the cold syrup. (Remove them immediately to prevent them from becoming soggy.) Drizzle a little more syrup over the doughnuts and serve them while they are hot.

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