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The Hirshon South African Deep-Fried Dough Twists in Citrus Syrup - Koeksisters

The Hirshon South African Deep-Fried Dough Twists in Citrus Syrup – Koeksisters

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  • Author: The Generalissimo


Units Scale
  • Syrup:
  • 1000 ml white sugar
  • 500 ml bottled still water
  • 1 ml Kosher salt
  • 10 ml golden syrup
  • 1 ml tartaric acid
  • 2 ml cream of tartar
  • 7 ml fresh lemon juice
  • 3 ml lemon essence
  • 3 ml fresh lime juice (TFD addition, use lemon juice for traditional recipe)
  • 1/2 Ceylon cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 finely-chopped nutmeg (TFD addition – replace with the extra 1/2 of the Ceylon cinnamon stick for the traditional recipe)
  • 3 allspice berries, bruised (TFD addition, omit for classic recipe)
  • 3 cloves, bruised (TFD addition, omit for classic recipe)
  • 1 small knob of ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. glycerine (optional but recommended for extra shiny koeksisters)
  • ***
  • Dough:
  • 500 ml cake flour
  • 10 ml single-acting baking powder
  • 3 ml Kosher salt
  • 30 ml butter (TFD strongly prefers unsalted KerryGold brand Irish butter in this recipe)
  • 1 small egg
  • 75 ml whole milk
  • 75 ml buttermilk
  • corn or peanut oil for frying (TFD prefers corn oil in this recipe)


  1. Syrup: Place the sugar, water and salt into a pot and stir until the sugar dissolves and slowly bring to a boil. Boil for 8 minutes and remove from the heat and add all remaining ingredients except lemon essence and glycerine and mix well. Place in the fridge overnight.
  2. Strain out all the solids, then stir in the lemon essence the next day before using the syrup. Keep VERY cold in the fridge (or freezer!) until using.
  3. Dough:
  4. Sift the dry ingredients together. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles breadcrumbs. Whisk the egg and milk together and add to the dry ingredients and mix to form a soft dough. Place in an airtight container overnight.
  5. Twisting the koeksisters – roll out the dough on a lightly-floured surface to a rectangular shape and about 0.5 cm thick. Cut lengthwise into strips about 4 cm wide and then crosswise into rectangles about 8 cm long. Keeping about 1 cm at the top end of each rectangle intact, cut it into three strips. Plait the strips very loosely to allow for rising while frying and press the ends together well to seal neatly. Set aside on a tray until all the plaits are made and cover with a damp cloth.
  6. Split the syrup into two containers, that way the other half stays cold in the fridge. Or put the container with syrup in a bowl with ice when you dip the koeksisters. Add the glycerine and divide the syrup into two bowls – use the first bowl until the syrup starts to warm up and then use the second bowl. Return the first bowl with syrup to the freezer to chill again.
  7. Pour enough oil into a medium sized saucepan to come 5 cm up the sides of the pan and heat the oil to moderately hot (170 º C). Fry the koeksisters a few at a time until golden on both sides. Lift out with a perforated spoon and place into the ice-cold syrup. Press down lightly for about 30 seconds and lift out with a fork or tongs. Take care not to use the same implements in the oil and syrup.
  8. Place onto a cooling rack set over a plate or tray to catch up the syrup that will drain off for it may be necessary to re-use it at the end. Repeat until all the koeksisters are fried and dipped. Let cool and dry for an hour before serving. Serve as a special treat for dessert or with tea or coffee.
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