Rusks are such an integral part of being a South African. What would that morning cup of tea or coffee be without a rusk to dunk into it. There are few things that can beat enjoying a sunrise cup of coffee and rusks in the bush before an early morning game drive. Strangely enough even my cat Smudge loves rusks, every Sunday morning when I have tea and rusks in bed he hangs around for his treat of a little rusk dipped in tea.
I feel the test of a good rusk is being able to eat it without having to dunk it. So many store bought rusks are so hard you could break a tooth trying to eat it without it being dunked. There are also so many ingredients that you can add to your rusk mixture to make them interesting. I like to pack as many healthy goodies into my rusks, this way I can justify them as a fully balanced breakfast dish. A few years ago i managed to acquire a rusk pan which enables you to make rusks all the same size buy cutting them with a special cutter. If you don’t have the special pan the mixture can be baked in a nice large oven tray and then when cool cut into fingers and dried overnight.
1kg Self-raising flour
3cups of digestive bran
3 cups of All-Bran Flakes
1 cup mixed seeds
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup dried cranberries or raisins ( I like to soak mine briefly in hot water to rehydrate)
1 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 1/2 cups of light brown sugar
3 large eggs
In a large bowl combine the flour, digestive bran, All-Bran Flakes, seeds, coconut,dried cranberries, salt and baking powder. In a pot combine the sugar and butter, melt over a low heat. When butter has melted remove from the heat. Do not boil. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Stir in the buttermilk and then the eggs one at a time. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Press the mixture into the greased rusk pan or a greased 30x40cm oven pan. Smooth the top with a rolling pin. If using the cutter, press it into the mixture to mark the rusks. Bake at 180C for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and if you have used the rusk try, use a small sharp knife to cut through the rusk markings, this just ensure that the rusks will separate easily. Cool in the tin.Remove the rusks and place on a large flat oven tray making sure they don’t touch. If you have not used the rusk tin then once the slab is completely cooled use a large serrated knife to cut it into your desired shape either fingers or squares.Then as described previously place them on an oven tray.
Place the tray in the oven at 50C for 6-8 hours. I like to leave mine overnight which dries them out completely. Store in an airtight container.