Every now and again, you come up with an idea that ticks all the boxes. It’s usually so simple that you have to stop to ask yourself, “Why didn’t I think of that before?” In case you haven’t put two and two together yet, this is one of those recipes; seasonal, nostalgic, a gem from our South African heritage… and just so good! It’s even become the special gift we send our guests home with after a leisurely lunch at the Studio.
PUMPKIN BUTTERMILK RUSKS
TIME: 1½ hours + drying overnight | SERVES: makes about 36 pieces
for the pumpkin purée
about 400 g diced pumpkin
for the rusks
1 kg (1 800 ml) self-raising flour
5 ml salt
500 g (540 ml) butter, cubed
400 g (500 ml) sugar
250 ml buttermilk
250 ml pumpkin puree
Heat the oven to 180 °C. Line the base of a 40 x 30 cm deep baking tray with baking paper. Spray the tray with edible food spray. Alternatively, you can also use two bread tins of 18 x 12 cm.
Place the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub into the flour with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Then, add the sugar and mix. Beat the buttermilk, pumpkin purée, and eggs together, add this mixture to the flour mixture and mix. Spoon into your prepared tins. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds on top.
Place in the oven and bake for 30 – 40 minutes if you are using a baking tray. If you are using bread tins, your rusks will bake for 1 hour. Test with a cake tester to make sure your rusks are baked.
Take out of the oven and let it cool in the baking tray or bread tins for about 15 minutes before turning out your rusks. Let it cool completely before slicing into your desired shape.
Heat your oven to 100 °C. Slice the cooled rusks into blocks and place on baking trays. Place in the oven overnight. Place a wooden spoon in the door, to leave a gap for the moisture to escape. Once the rusks have dried out, store them in an airtight container.