Koeksister recipe – South African plaited donuts soaked in a rich sugar syrup.
2 cups cake or plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
50g cold unsalted butter, chopped
½ cup milk
3 cups caster sugar
2 cups water
5cm piece ginger, sliced
1 cinnamon quill
1 vanilla bean, split
1 lemon, juiced
For the syrup, combine sugar, ginger, cinnamon and 2 cups (500ml) water in a pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring until sugar dissolves, then cook for 3-4 minutes until fragrant. Transfer to a heatproof bowl with the lemon juice and chill for at least 3 hours.
For the dough, place flour, baking powder and butter in a bowl and rub the mixture together between your fingers until you’ve formed very fine crumbs. Add egg, milk and salt then stir to combing into a dough. Knead on a lightly floured surface for 5 minutes then enclose in oiled baking paper and rest in the fridge for 1 hour.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until 7mm thick. Cut into 10cm x 5cm rectangles, then cut 3 lines lengthways into each rectangle, leaving a 1cm boarder at one end to hold the strips together. Plait the 3 strips and pinch end to seal.
Set bowl of syrup over a bowl of iced water (syrup must be very cold). Half fill a deep-fryer or large saucepan with oil and heat until 170°C. In batches, cook the doughnuts, turning, for 3 minutes or until dark golden. Immediately soak in syrup for 1 minute, then drain on a wire rack. Drizzle over more syrup and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
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