Sunday, 17 June 2012

Breakfast Rusks

There are few things so quintessentially South African as The Rusk.

We have a few beloved delicacies, such as biltong, melktert, snoek and jam tarts (and many more), and you will find these in homes, recipe books and expat shops wherever you'll find a Saffa accent.  Not that the above is totally unique, mind you.  Just replace the above with jerky, custard tart, barramundi and empanada, and you know what I'm talking about.

But the rusk, now the rusk! Basically, it's just a very rustic form of that other double-baked goodie, the Italian biscotti, and the Afrikaans term "beskuit" isn't far from its roots.  But it leaves many a foreign visitor bewilderd when coming face to face with his first rusk.

A German friend still laughs when remembering her reaction when faced with her morning coffee accompanied by a rusk on her first morning in South Africa.  When she couldn't figure out what it was and what to do with it, she carefully wrapped it in toilet paper and hid at the bottom of the bin!
We love our rusks in many and varied forms, but one of nicest, and basic (and the only one I've mastered!) is the Buttermilk Bran rusk. It's as easy as a pie and I give thanks to my friend Anina every time I make my variation of her recipe:

Buttermilk Bran Rusks

1 kg self-raising flour
4 cups oat bran
125 ml dessicated (shredded) coconut
250 ml sugar
250 ml nuts (usually flaked almonds)
handful of dried cranberries
10 ml baking powder
pinch of salt

(I also add a handful of pumpkin seeds, sunfloowers seeds, linseed, sesame seed, or whatever I have to hand).

3 eggs
500 ml buttermilk / maas
500 gr margerine/butter, melted

Stir all dry items to mix thoroughly.
Beat eggs, add buttermilk and margerine.
Add to dry ingredients.

Place in large, shallow oven pan.
Bake @ 180 C for 30 min.
Slice into pieces and place on oven racks.
Dry at 100 C for 3 hours, or 80C overnight. 

Enjoy with your morning cuppa!

- 0 -

I was lucky enough to find special rusk pans, with a press cutter that slices everything up neatly before I even bake it, so it already comes out of the oven like this:

... on to the drying rack:

... in the oven to dry:

...and ready for morning tea;


Christine @ First Home...Love Life said...

This looks yummy! I would love for you to link up with me every Wednesday at

Jode said...

What a great recipe....i think my teen would love these, i shall give them a try...thanks for sharing!

The Accidental Housewife said...

So, help a foreigner out, am I correct in thinking these rusks are for dunking? Because I adore a good dunk-able biscuit!

Thanks for linking up with our party!

Stel said...

Yep, Mrs Accidental, you dunk :-)

(And my 8 yr old alerted me to fact the fact that it is actually much more efficient to cut the rusks with a pizza slicer, once it comes out of the oven, easy peasy in the little tracks made by the press.)

Annette - "MyRoseValley" said...

HI there!
I loooooove those rusks. I have a South African friend over here who gave me the recipe a couple of years ago. They disappear in an instant when made. Perfect for school snack. Perfect to be dipped in tea or coffee. Yum! Thanks for sharing Stel.

Ten thumbs said...

Hi Stella

Love your blog and illustrations very helpfull.

Please help me to a toilet lid cover crochet pattern.