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Skuinskoek (diagonal cakes)

Marietjie's grandmother (who lived in the Namakwaland in South Africa), made the most delicious "skuinskoek". Skuinskoek means "diagonal cakes", probably because of the peculiar diamond form one need to cut them out.

They are on their best when they are warm and fresh, but Marietjie's grandmother often made skuinskoek for "padkos": food for the road back home after a visit. She stored them in a washed fabric flour bag, which kept them for a day or two, but a modern cake tin or Tupperware container is also fine.

This is not the original recipe, but a variant that is based on Marietjie's mosbolletjie rusks, using Surebake yeast and a bread maker.

Ingredients

  • 10 ml Surebake instant yeast
  • 120 gram sugar
  • 5 ml salt
  • 5 ml anise seed
  • 600 gram high grade flour
  • 60 gram butter
  • 300 ml water
  • At least 1 litre Canola oil for frying

Method

  1. Place yeast and all the dry ingredients in the bread maker's bread pan. Add butter and pour water into the pan.
  2. Close lid, set program on "dough only" cycle (called "pizza" cycle on some bread makers) and start machine. It should take about 45 minutes.
  3. After the cycle completed, switch unit off and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Set to the "dough only" program again and start. Switch machine off after finished.
  5. Leave dough in closed unit to rise to double or three times the original size. Remove the dough when it rose to the brim of the bread pan. It will take about 4 to 6 hours at room temperature (or a warm cupboard in winter).
  6. Knead dough down for 5 minutes. You could do it by hand, or set the program on the "dough only" cycle again. Do not let the machine finish the cycle, but switch the machine off after 5 minutes.
  7. Remove bread pan from unit.
  8. Pinch pieces of dough off, roll into a sausage and then cut it into diamond shapes (diagonal slices) of 5 cm (2 in) each.
  9. Place on a baking plate that is lightly covered with flour. Cover and let rise until it has doubled in original size.
  10. Fry in warm oil until golden brown on both sides and cooked through.
  11. Drain on kitchen paper and eat while still warm.

You can sprinkle it with icing sugar before serving.