Rusks (also known as beskuit in Afrikaans) are a common South African (and Namibian) breakfast food and treat enjoyed dipped in coffee or rooibos (meaning red bush, the plant from which the tea is made, in Afrikaans) tea. One can buy all sorts of varieties in the grocery stores, ranging from plain buttermilk rusks to chocolate rusks to muesli rusks. Rusks are twice-baked cookies not unlike Italian biscotti. To make them, a rusks pan is desired, although I plan on making some at home with a few improvisations. A rusks pan is a shallow pan (about 1inch deep) and comes along with a cutting frame to score the rusks before the first bake. Instead of such a device, I’m pretty sure we could just use a knife for a similar effect – it would just take a bit longer.
Here is the recipe for the rusks I made one Saturday morning at my friend Attie’s house, following a long run. The recipe comes from his friend, Ramsy.
1.5 kg self-rising flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
300g crushed bran cereal
3 large eggs
½ cup oil
500 mL buttermilk
2 cups sugar
Several handfuls each of raisins/coconut/seeds/nuts/whatever you wish
Mix flour, baking powder, salt, crushed cereal, nuts/dried fruit/seeds. In a separate bowl, beat eggs and then add margarine, oil, and buttermilk. Beat well. Add sugar and beat well. Mix wet and dry ingredients. If dough is too hard, add more buttermilk to soften it. Mix dough with hands. Spread dough evenly onto a rusk pan, press in the rusk cutting frame to score the dough, and then put it in the oven. Bake at around 155°F for 1hr. Take pan out of oven and let cool for 30min. Cut scored rusks with a knife and place rusk pieces upside down on pan, keeping rusks separated from each other. Dry rusks in oven at around 100°F for 4-5hrs, keeping the oven door open slightly. Store away from moisture. Enjoy!