Hertzoggies are one of the most delicious South African treats and a South African recipe for these scrumptious desserts is something you should definitely have in your recipe repertoire. They can be enjoyed at teatime and in school lunchboxes – or whenever you want something sweet.
A treat enjoyed by Presidents and more
The Hertzoggie, also known in Afrikaans as a HertzogKoekie, is named after the South African politician and Prime Minister from 1924 to 1939, J.B.M. Hertzog who loved these delicious treats. It’s rumoured that the Cape-Malay community created this dessert to show their support for Prime Minister Hertzog after he promised to give women the vote and promised equal rights to the coloured community in the 1920s.
To show their political support for the Prime Minister, his supporters baked, served and sold Hertzoggies.
The creation of the politically approved Hertzoggie inspired Jan Smuts supporters to bake their own version of the Hertzoggie, which they named Jan Smuts cookies. These cookies have a creamed butter and sugar topping instead of the paler meringue topping of the Hertzoggie.
Today Hertzoggies are the perfect accompaniment to a cup of rooibos tea – and are the ideal treat to bake to commemorate South African Heritage Day on the 24th of September, when South Africans all over the world celebrate their culture, traditions and diversity of beliefs.
A traditional Hertzoggie recipe:
- 420ml cake wheat flour
- 30ml castor sugar
- 10ml baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 125g butter, cubed
- 3 eggs, separated
FOR THE TOPPING
- 15ml water
- 250ml smooth apricot jam
- 250ml castor sugar
- 500ml desiccated coconut
- Line a 22cm square tray with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang.
- Sift together the flour, castor sugar, baking powder and salt. Rub the butter into the flour with fingertips until it resembles bread crumbs.
- Beat egg yolks lightly with the water and mix through the flour mixture until a smooth and workable dough forms. (Add a drop or two of water if the dough is too firm.) Press the dough out onto the base of the prepared tray and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- For the topping, spread the jam evenly over the dough. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Slowly add the sugar, and continue beating until shiny. Add the coconut. Spoon on top of the jam and bake for about 25 minutes until golden and cooked. Cool completely before slicing.
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