South African Desserts: Recipes And Preparation


When we talk of South African desserts, what comes to mind is a variety of beskuits, pudding, pies and colourful fruit mixes such as grapes, melons, peaches, citrus, apricots, just to name a few. Dried fruits are some of the popular desserts known and exported to many countries all over the world.

Dried fruits are some of the popular desserts known and exported to many countries all over the world.

The South African apricot jam pudding and buttermilk pudding are great examples of the sweet, rich taste of the South African desserts which are available in various flavours.

Some traditional desserts include Hertzog cookies, South African rusks, and Koeksisters.

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South African tarts (melktert, brandy tart, rum and raisin tart) are famous for their varieties. Some other desserts include the date cake, banana caramel pie and the brandy squares served with chocolate sauce.

Melktert (Milk Tart)

South African Food

Melktert, Afrikaans for “milk tart”, is a South African dessert consisting of a sweet pastry crust and a touch of cinnamon sprinkled over it.

Melktert Recipe

  1. Milk.
  2. Margarine.
  3. Sugar.
  4. Flour
  5. Salt.
  6. Vanilla extract.
  7. Corn starch.
  8. Cinnamon

Melktert Preparation

  1. Mix the margarine and sugar together and stir in the egg.
  2. Add the flour and salt, then mould until a soft dough is formed.
  3. Press the mixture into a greased pie dish and bake at 350° F for 15 minutes.
  4. Boil the milk and margarine.
  5. Mix the sugar, egg, corn starch, flour and vanilla extract.
  6. Add some of the hot milk to the mixture, and then pour it back into the pot and heat gently until it thickens.
  7. Pour the filling into the pie crust, sprinkle some cinnamon over and cool.
  8. Refrigerate.


South African Desserts

Koeksister is a South African dessert, similar to doughnuts. They are made in a twist or sometimes braided and then soaked in syrup.

Koeksister Recipe: Syrup

  1. Sugar
  2. Water
  3. Lemon juice
  4. Tartar cream
  5. vanilla essence
  6. Ginger (optional)
  7. Salt

Koeksister Recipe: Dough

  1. Flour.
  2. Baking powder.
  3. Salt.
  4. Butter.
  5. Egg.
  6. Milk.
  7. Water (If needed).

Koeksister Preparation

When making the syrup; mix all the ingredients in a cooking pan (except the lemon juice and vanilla essence) and slowly heat. While heating you have to keep stirring your syrup mix until the sugar has melted.

Once the sugar has melted, leave your syrup mix to boil for about 6 minutes, then mix in the lemon juice and vanilla essence. Leave to cool.

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Now, mix your flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Slowly add your butter to the mix, then pour in your milk and mould to dough. Once your dough has been formed, cut them into strips and separate them in groups of two or three. Join each group at one end and begin your braid or twist.

Get your oil slightly heated up and fry your twist until they get golden-brown on both sides. Remove the koeksister and dip them into your syrup. Remove your koeksister from the syrup and let off the excess syrup from the body. Make sure your syrup is cool at all times before a dip.




Rusks which has been a South African beskuit (biscuit) since the 1690’s is a snack in-between a bread and biscuit. There are various types of rusks, such as the orange juice rusks, knitwit bran rusks, buttermilk rusks and lots more.

Rusks Recipe

  1. Flour
  2. Sugar
  3. Baking powder
  4. Salt
  5. Butter
  6. Eggs

Rusks Preparation

Grease your oven tray or baking pan and set your oven to 180°, while your oven is heating up; get your dough ready. Mix your flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Slowly add your butter into the mix, then mix in your eggs until dough is formed.

Mould your dough into shapes or place in a baking pan, and then bake for about an hour. Once ready cool off before bringing the rusks out of the pan, then dry the rusks and store in a sealed container.

Best Way To Have Your Rusks

There are various ways to have your rusks when ready. Traditionally rusks were best had with tea or coffee, but in recent times, they are loved and best served with ice cream.

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