Decadent puffs of chewy coconut meringue, apricot jam, and rich butter pastry make up the delicious hertzoggie, a South African teatime, in fact, any-time favourite! Saffas home and abroad will remember many childhood teatime visits complete with chatting around the kitchen table while feasting on these tasty treats.
Hertzoggie vs Smutsie
As with most South African food, the hertzoggie is deeply entrenched in our heritage. Named for South African prime minister J.B.M Hertzog, these tasty treats were made by loyal woman supporters at the time. Perhaps Mr. Hertzog had a sweet tooth? After all, we all know the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach! Maybe these ladies were onto something with their easy hertzoggie recipe?
Something worth mentioning is that the opposing party at the time had a similar idea, immediately creating a teatime treat of their own as a show of support for their leader: the smutsie. And while all that baking was going on, staunch loyalty was seen as each side refused to eat or bake the opponent’s cookies! Oh, the irony! The truth is, both the hertzoggie and smutsie are so similarly made, they are almost identical! While the Hertzoggie sports a meringue topping made of egg whites and coconut, the smutsie is equally tasty but prefers a softer topping of creamy butter icing. It seems these politicians certainly had a ‘soft spot’ for tasty confectionary!
Food as symbolism
Food has always held a certain amount of symbolism in South African history; however, this is the same for many cultures. In fact, humans have always used food as a form of celebration or support, often placing great significance on certain foods. So why do we do this? It probably hails from the caveman days when a celebration was held feasting around the campfire each evening. Surviving another day in the wild was undoubtedly cause for celebration with family and friends – ring any bells?
If you’re still a little skeptical of this, check out how we’ve used food to symbolise prosperity, good luck, rebirth, immortality, and even military power throughout history.
- The Jiaozi dumpling is a symbol of prosperity in China. Traditionally eaten on Chinese New Year at family feasts, these dumplings represent wealth for diners.
- Since the 1960s, the orange has played an important role in Christmas church services. Traditionally the Christingle is a candle within an orange. It symbolizes Jesus as the candle, the orange as the world, the ribbon is Christ’s blood, and the sweets, God’s creation.
- The haggis, traditionally enjoyed by our Scottish friends across the sea, is a message from the poet Robert Burns to keep life simple. Its rustic origins and basic ingredients of offal, spices, and oatmeal encased in a sheep’s stomach lining, represents humbleness in a world filled with rich indulgence. It’s also thought that the stabbing of the haggis was a show of Scottish military strength and power.
Enough about food history and symbolism, let’s get to the good stuff: the hertzoggie recipe!
Easy Hertzoggies recipe
Fast forward a few dusty decades, and you will see that the hertzoggie recipe has remained mostly untouched, that is until we found this recipe that replaces the usual pastry base with a cupcake! While most saffas agree that messing with a traditional recipe is a recipe for disaster, this hertzoggie recipe is the perfect combination of smore-ish chewy and soft textures filled with a zap of sweetness! Let’s wander down memory lane and whip up a few hertzoggies with a delicious twist.
What you need
Makes approximately 24 cupcakes
For the cupcake bases
- 125 g unsalted butter
- 3 large free-range eggs
- 2 tablespoons of Huletts castor sugar
- 1 teaspoon Moirs Vanilla essence
- 1 cup full cream milk
- 125 g All Gold smooth apricot jam
- 240 g cake flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 125 g desiccated coconut
- Large mixing bowl
- Electric beater
For the meringue topping
- 4 egg whites beaten until stiff
- 200 g desiccated coconut
- 250 g Huletts castor sugar
- All Gold Smooth apricot jam (80g per cupcake)
What to do
- Line two cupcake pans or hertzoggie pan with cupcake liners. Each tray should have twelve cupcake holes.
- Set the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and preheat while preparing the ingredients.
For the cupcakes
- Place the castor sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl. Then using the electric beater, combine the castor sugar and butter until creamy.
- Next, add the milk, vanilla essence, eggs, and All Gold apricot jam; continue to beat until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
- Add the baking powder, flour, and desiccated coconut to the mixture and fold them together. Note the mixture should be smooth and free of lumps.
- Lastly, spoon the batter into the cupcake liners and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes.
- Place the cupcakes on the side and allow to cool for 10 minutes before adding the topping. Do not remove the cupcakes from the baking tray as they need to go back in the oven.
For the meringue topping
- Set the electric beater to the highest speed and beat the egg whites until they are frothy and white
- Slowly add the sugar, continuously beating the mixture until stiff.
- When the meringue is stiff, add the desiccated coconut.
- Next, fill a piping bag with the meringue mixture.
- Cut a small hole out of each of the cupcake centers and fill with All Gold Apricot jam.
- Next, using the piping bag, add a generous dollop of meringue mixture on top of the jam filling.
- Then, return the meringue-covered cupcakes to the oven and bake at 200 degrees Celsius for ten minutes. The meringue topping should be crisp and slightly brown when ready.
Serve with a steaming cup of coffee or tea. For a healthier version of this recipe, you can exchange the sugar for xylitol and replace the apricot jam with a diabetic jam alternative.
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