At Vappu last year we were treated to home-made rosette. We so enjoyed these light little snacks that we looked for the necessary kitchen equipment (a “rosettirauta” = rosette iron) all around Helsinki in order that we’d be able to make our own… it took night months, but Brigitte finally found a rosettirauta for us at Chez Mariusjust before Christmas.
We didn’t wait long before trying to make our own rosette – and quickly learnt a few important details about this (theoretically) simple procedure. You can find many different recipes on-line (we used this one from AllRecipes.com), but they seem fairly similar: First, mix eggs, sugar, flour, milk and salt into a batter. Next, heat your rosettirauta in oil (apparently 370 °C is good – we just set the stove to “medium”).
Once the iron is hot, you quickly remove the excess oil (e.g. press it against some absorbent paper) and then dip the rosettirauta into the batter – making sure that the batter does not cover the top of the mould (see the photo above). You’ll need to hold the rosettirautu in the batter for a few seconds so that the batter sticks to the mould – if the batter doesn’t stick to the iron, you can try removing more oil before dipping it into the batter or keeping the iron in the batter for longer before lifting it out (we needed to do both of these).
The rauta then goes into the hot oil (watch out for the sudden steam coming off) – and hopefully the rosette falls off the iron after a few seconds in the oil (otherwise have a blunt knife handy to prod it off). The rosette then remains cooking in the oil until golden-brown – if the oil is too hot a rosette may still be a bit chewy despite being the right colour – so you’ll need to try the first few to be sure you’ve got the oil heated to the correct temperature. The rosette can then be placed on some absorbent paper, and given a dusting of castor sugar before serving. One batch of batter made about 50 rosette (including the first few duds) – that may sound like a lot, but four or five people can easily munch their way through that! You can additionally add some cinnamon to the sugar (suggested here) or even try mixing some into the batter (which we tried – but we didn’t add enough for the flavour to come through).
Following on from our rosette success, we decided to make a similar (… fairly similar… ) traditional South African desert for Brigitte’s team at her work. Koeksisters are plaits of dough that are fried and then quickly dipped into a spicy sugar syrup. You can find many recipes on the web (for example here, here, here and here) – we chose to use this one from JustEasyRecipes.co.za because we had all the ingredients it required. It was a fairly long processes, but the individual steps are straight forward so it is not a difficult to do – we found this video from Pick’nPay very useful (there are other video tutorials on YouTube – for example this one with two parts here and here).
I’ll not go through the whole process (it’s easy enough to figure out from the recipes), but will just add the suggestion to try and make the strands of the raw dough nice and thin (1 cm diameter) as they expand during frying – and if they are thick then it is difficult to get them to cook through evenly.
We really enjoyed being able to make rosettes for South Africans and koeksisters for Finns – any suggestions for the next traditional treat we should cook up?