Koeksisters - A Classic

Makes ± 4½ dozen koeksisters


2,5kg Huletts White Sugar
1,3 litres water
pinch salt
1 piece of root ginger
(about 2cm) crushed
2 cinnamon sticks
2ml tartaric acid
2ml cream of tartar
15ml fresh lemon juice

1kg (7 x 250ml) self-raising flour
pinch salt
300g butter
650ml sour milk
cooking oil


  1. Prepare the syrup the previous evening: Heat the sugar, water, salt, ginger and cinnamon sticks in a heavy-based saucepan, stirring continuously until the sugar has dissolved completely.
  2. Bring to the boil and boil for 7 minutes.
  3. Remove from the stove and add the tartaric acid, cream of tartar and lemon juice.
  4. Chill overnight in the refrigerator.

  1. Sift the self-raising flour and salt together.
  2. Rub the butter into the flour.
  3. Add the sour milk and mix to a manageable dough.
  4. Place in a plastic bag and leave in fridge for 1 hour or even overnight.
  5. Roll out the dough until about 1cm thick and cut into 7 cm x 3 cm strips with a knife.
  6. Cut each strip into three equal lengths, keeping them attached at the top.
  7. Plait and set aside.
  8. Heat cooking oil in a deep, heavy-based saucepan over low heat.
  9. Drop a marble-sized piece of dough into the oil to test the temperature.
  10. If the oil is hot enough, the "marble" will float on the surface and appear to be boiling.
  11. Place the prepared koeksisters carefully into the hot oil and fry on both sides until pale brown, turning frequently.
  12. Meanwhile, place the syrup in a bowl on a bed of ice to keep it cold.
  13. Remove the koeksisters with a slotted spoon and immerse immediately into the syrup for a few seconds.
  14. Place the koeksisters on wire racks over pans or bowls to catch the syrup, which can be re-used.