RECIPE NO. 2 (28 JANUARY 2017)

Ingrid’s side of the story:

When baking or cooking, what should your first step always be? Checking the ingredients of course and making sure that you have them all, and not just have them, but also have enough of them. And then of course you should always read the recipe through thoroughly. And when I say thoroughly, I mean thoroughly. Start at the very beginning and read through carefully until the very end. And here you have our first mistake. We didn’t read the recipe through thoroughly and so to start with, we were baking something entirely different to what we we set out to bake, and more astonishingly, to what YOU were expecting us to bake. Imagine the disappointment of my daughter, who spent 5 hours on Saturday afternoon helping me bake, with the promise of a Koeksister at the end – only to discover that instead we had made koesisters.

Koeksisters are hard work and time consuming. I know, I spent many hours of my youth attempting to perfect these South African delicacies. But once I had them perfected – they were always totally worth all the effort. These “koesisters” on the other hand, were hours of work and the end result was 80 varying shapes and sizes, of which 70 ended up in the bin. The other 10 were eaten, but not enjoyed. To be fair, a large part of the problem may have been unrealistic expectations and some major disappointment.
The other problem of course, was that we didn’t actually know what the end result needed to be. The recipe wasn’t very clear on several key points and so there was some trial and error on our part. (probably more error than trial) The recipe said to make a sausage from the dough, about 5cm long – but with no clarity on thickness – I had some dough coming out golden on the outside, but completely raw on the inside and yet others black on the outside, but perfect in the middle. All the while, I was still trying to create a Koeksister – which we now know, we were never going to achieve.
The end result was a ball of dough, soaked in a light sugary syrup and unlike a koeksister that has a golden crunch on the outside, bursting with syrup on the inside – this koeksister was a ball of soggy dough. I have no idea why it has been given a name so similar to something so different in texture and method – I have scoured the internet and not been able to find any other recipe with the same name. However, when sharing my weekend baking experience with my best friend, she did say that it sounded very similar to a “Gulab Jamun” – which is a South-Asian sweet. Perhaps next time we just need to read through the recipe first starting with the name.


I made 80 koesisters but probably had enough dough to make a further 8, if my syrup hadn’t run out.

TOTAL:£12,65/ R213,92




Elizabeth’s side of the story:

I would like start by saying: We were mistaken. We thought we were making traditional KOEKSISTERS but instead we got KOESISTERS. Yes, apparently the second ‘K’ has intentionally been omitted and this of course means we were simply making a dish that sounds and looks like koeksisters but cannot be compared.

Each recipe in the GREAT SouthAfrican cookbook have been submitted by different individuals in South Africa who have developed culinary skills in their community or who have made a impact in the food industry in South Africa. This recipe originates from the Bo- Kaap in Cape Town and is formerly known as the Malay Quarter.  Wikipedia describes it as: “…a former township, situated on the slopes of Signal Hill above the city centre “. I was privileged enough to visit this area over December and if ever in the Cape, it is well worth a visit.



Sugar, butter, yeast, dried naartjie peel, spices ( nutmeg, ginger, cardamon, aniseed) egg, flour, coconut and ALOT of oil to deep fry.


The basic method to make the dough and syrup were easily understood but the description for the dough sausages wasn’t great. It said 5cm but didn’t describe if they should be fat or thin sausages. We had a live Skype date whilst we cooked these and we both had moments of perplexing confusion.


I loved the addition of all the spices to the dough and must admit that it smelt heavenly. It was a cinnamon/nutmeg/citrus aroma. The recipe requires naartjie peels to be dried and then ground into a fine powder with a coffee grinder.  I don’t have one, and so the next best alternative was my hand held stick blender. Needless to say: I had naartijie peel showers in my kitchen. I do think it was a great suggestion by the creator of this recipe.


I was REALLY excited for this recipe. I have never made koeksisters before and was up for the challenge. The further into the cooking session I got, the more disappointed I became. They looked the part but after deep frying the first batch, soaking them in syrup and sprinkling with coconut: they were not what my taste buds had expected.

We both followed the recipe to the T and were both equally perplexed at the outcome.  At this point I didn’t think it would hurt to try a few variations to the recipe.  I tried cooking each batch a little differently. One a little longer in the oil on an even lower heat, the next a little longer in the syrup etc. The experimenting didn’t change the outcome.

I was expecting a soaked, sweet koeksister dough. I think, that if I wasn’t expecting this that I would have thought them enjoyable. The consistency of these was more doughy and not as crispy and sweet. More like a doughnut or churro. Perhaps my level of experience failed me?

My husband had been in Pretoria for a few days and on return from his trip tasted the koesisters. His comments were ” If those were on a plate, served with coffee and tea: I would eat them. But I wouldn’t make them myself.” To sum it up if I was going to all the effort of cooking for 3-4 hours ( allowing the dough to rise, and fashioning the sausages etc) I would prefer to make traditional koeksisters which require the same amount of effort.

My serving suggestion would be to add a dash of warm custard and mentally prepare your taste buds for a new and original flavour you haven’t yet experienced.


The recipe says 70-80 small koesisters. I had a total of 65 koesisters but had WAY more dough than syrup by the end so couldn’t cook about 30 of them.

TOTAL:R223,00/ £13,90




**Please bear in mind that this was simply our opinion and in no means are we attempting to discredit the brilliance of this recipe or the creator of it.

3 thoughts on “RECIPE NO. 2: KOESISTERS

  1. Sounds like you had lots of fun! I had a good laugh imagining you both tasting them and being dissspointed! I remember you making Koeksisters with Judy, Ing. You will have to find that recipe!


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