This month the Alphabakes challenge is brought to you by the letter “V.” Initially I was filled with trepidation. “V” always seems such a tricky letter. But then I put my thinking cap on for a moment and the possibilities seemed endless. A Victoria sandwich, red velvet cake, Viennese whirls, and of course anything containing vanilla would all be worthy entrants. But wanting to submit something a little different, I plumped for the South African dish, vetkoek.
Now I hope that the Alphabakes hosts, Ros from “The More Than Occasional Baker” and Caroline from “Caroline Makes,” will forgive me for stretching the brief a little. Vetkoek isn’t technically a bake but more a deep fried dough. When I first encountered vetkoek, I was a bit alarmed by the South African predilection for eating what is essentially a doughnut with savoury minced beef. It has grown on me though, and I can be found partaking of the mince-doughnut combo on occasion.
My entry for Alphabakes isn’t a traditional vetkoek recipe however. No savoury mince in sight, these little cardamom scented doughnuts with a salted chocolate and coffee dipping sauce are probably more similar to a Spanish churro than a South African vetkoek. But that’s splitting hairs as whatever they are, they are absolutely flipping gorgeous.
I must admit to having a little curse whilst making these. The instructions in the original recipe simply state to “shape the dough into twists” – if it had only been that simple! However, after much trial an error I finally got the technique down pat and have detailed it below if you fancy giving these vetkoek a go. The dough is quite forgiving as despite my cack-handedness, they were still crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside as a good doughnut/vetkoek/churro should be.
To save my waistline from another dessert, I am also submitting these vetkoek with their coffee and chocolate dipping sauce into this month’s We Should Cocoa challenge (co-hosted by Choclette of Chocolate Log Blog and Lucy from The Kitchen Maid) as the theme just happens to be coffee and chocolate. Well I never!
Cardamom scented vetkoek twists with a chocolate and coffee dipping sauce (adapted from Food and Home Entertaining)
For the sauce:
- 100g dark chocolate with sea salt (I used Lindt)
- 1 tbsp golden syrup
- 1 tsp instant coffee
- 125ml double cream
For the vetkoek:
- 200g – 300g plain flour, plus extra for rolling
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 100ml milk
- 200ml water
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for deep frying
- castor sugar
1. Gently heat all the ingredients for the sauce on the hob or in the microwave until just melted. Stir well and set aside.
2. Place 200g of flour in a large bowl together with the cardamom and baking powder. Add the milk, water and vegetable oil and mix to a dough. The dough should be very soft but not sticky otherwise it will be impossible to roll. If necessary, add more flour until the desired consistency is achieved.
3. Divide the dough into 30g-ish balls. Rub each ball of dough between floured hands until you get a strip about 10-15cm in length. Divide in two then continue rolling each strip until they are both 10-15cm in length and about 1cm in diameter. Plait the two strips around each other, pressing down on either end of the twist to seal. Pull the vetkoek gently outwards to elongate then trim the ends with a sharp knife to neaten. Repeat for the rest of the dough.
4. Heat the oil in a deep fat fryer to a temperature of 190C. Fry the vetkoek a couple at a time until a deep golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper then roll in castor sugar. Eat whilst still warm with the dipping sauce. Enjoy!