(Makes about 12)


  • 1 kg sugar
  • 500 ml water
  • 2 pieces fresh ginger
  • 2 ml cream of tartar
  • pinch of salt
  • juice of half a lemon

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan. Heat and stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Put on the lid and boil for 1 minute. Boil uncovered for another 5 minutes. Don't stir. Let it cool. Put in fridge, preferably overnight, until totally cool.


  • 240 g (430 ml) cake flour
  • 20 ml baking powder
  • 3 ml salt
  • 25 ml butter
  • 150 ml buttermilk
  • 750 ml sunflower oil for frying

Sift flour, baking powder and salt together into a mixing bowl. Rub butter into dry ingredients until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add buttermilk and mix until it forms a soft dough that can be kneaded easily. The secret of good koeksisters is to knead the dough until small blisters form - about 20 minutes. Cover with a damp cloth and let it rest for 15 minutes. Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 5 mm and cut into squares of 8 cm x 5 cm. Cut each square into 3 fingers, but not all the way through. According to the experts each koeksister should be plaited only 3 times. Heat oil and test with a piece of excess dough. The dough should puff up, but not become brown too quickly. Now you can fry 2 koeksisters at a time. Let them brown on one side before turning. Put on kitchen paper for a few seconds to drain excess oil, then dip immediately into the ice-cold syrup. The koeksisters should soak up the syrup immediately. Put the koeksisters on a cooling rack on top of a baking tray.

HINT: Put the cold bowl of syrup into a bowl of ice. This will ensure the syrup stays cold. Store koeksisters in the freezer.