Rusks are a very popular South African biscuit, great for dunking in tea or coffee. It became a popular way of preserving bread for long periods of time in the late 17th Century in South Africa where people didn’t have fridges to keep their bread fresh. It would keep well during long periods where the people would not be able to bake a fresh loaf at the drop of a hat. It was the Afrikaaners who during the Great Trek and the Boer Wars would use this technique for preserving their bread.
A few centuries later, it’s still a popular type of biscuit in South Africa!
Note: Before trying to make this, I need to make you aware of the fact it takes ages. (Okay, 2.5 hours – it really does feel like ages).
My mom gave me one of her family recipes, so I gave this one a try twice and it worked out great!
- 6 Cups flour and 8 tsp baking powder
- 250 g Butter
- 1.25 Cups of sugar
- 1 Egg
- 2 Cups of buttermilk
- A dash of salt
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C
- Sift the flour and salt together
- Add the sugar and mix
- Add the melted butter
- Add the beaten egg
- Mix everything well together
- Lay it out on the baking tray lined with some baking paper covering the tray
- Pop it in the oven for about 30 minutes – until it’s golden brown
- Take it out and start cutting it into rusk sized portions (rectangles!)
- Turn the heat down to 100 degrees C
- Put it back in the oven
- Wait 45 minutes
- Turn the rusks around
- Wait another 45 minutes
- Check on the rusks, take out the ones that feel like rocks – those are ready
- Carry on baking the rest until they also feel like rocks!
To be honest, this took me about 2.5 hours to cook once everything is in the oven. So to make this I need to be sure I am in it for what feels like the long haul! But so worth it. It also makes a big batch so they last about 3 weeks sealed up in a ziplock, depending on how quickly you eat them!