Thursday, February 18, 2010
South African Rusks
I have some South African extended family members and they have turned my father on to Ouma's Rusks. The rusks are similar to biscotti, but better. Idly paging through a cookbook left behind by a tenant, Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant, I saw a recipe for rusks. I was skeptical about the taste after enjoying Ouma's, but the directions included drying the rusks for 12 hours in the oven. I am a sucker for a strange recipe, so late one night (I'm not telling you how late), I set to work.
Turns out, the rusks are comparable to Ouma's and way better than homemade biscotti. We all love them and though the children are encouraged to dunk them, they do eat them plain, so they are good snacks. Rusks are moderately healthy, not too sweet, and scented my house for a full two days after they were finished (must be the long overnight bake). I hope you try them, and like them, too.
Rusks from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant
Mix together in a large bowl:
2 c. white flour
2 c. whole wheat flour
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
Combine wet stuff:
1/2 c. melted butter
3/4 c. buttermilk
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. almond extract
Pour the wet stuff into the dry and stir until you have a soft dough, similar to biscuits.
On a well-floured surface, roll or pat the dough to 1/2" thickness and cut into rectangles (they suggest 2x4")
Bake at 400 on greased baking sheets for 25 minutes. Then pile the rusks together on a baking sheet and bake at 200 for about 12 hours. They should be very dry and hard. Keep in an airtight container - they'll keep for weeks.
Suggested variations (which all sound tempting to me!):
Oatmeal raisin rusks: reduce white flour to 1.5 cups, add 2 c. rolled oats and 1/2
c. chopped raisins
Almond rusks: Add 1 c. chopped almonds and omit cinnamon
Peanut rusks: Add 1 c. chopped peanuts
Anise rusks: Omit cinnamon and almond extract and add 2 tsp. anise extract
My midafternoon cuppa. In honor of the rusk, I made bush tea.