South African koeksisters are a from-scratch braided donut that's cooked crisp then soaked in sweet spiced syrup. A favorite sweet treat that you can commonly buy in South Africa, and a special taste of home for ex-pats around the world.
The day before, make the syrup. Heat the water until warm and then add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for ten minutes, stirring to make sure that all the ingredients dissolve. After ten minutes, take the syrup off the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature before placing the syrup in the fridge. Leave the cinnamon stick and ginger floating in the syrup.
The next day, make the dough. Place the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Then add the butter and either rub it into the dough with your fingers or cut it in with a pastry knife or two knives crisscrossed together.
Next add the milk, cream, and eggs and mix well. Roll the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for at least thirty minutes.
Roll the dough out to between a 1/2-1 cm in thickness and then cut into strips about 1cm in width and 6cm in length. Take three of them and press the ends together on one end before plaiting it. When the plait is finished, press the other ends together.
Heat a pan with about an inch of vegetable oil on low until it starts sizzling when you place a tiny piece of dough in the oil. In the meantime, place your pan of syrup into another pan filled with ice water so as to keep it cold. The syrup needs to be kept very cold from this point on.
Fry the Koeksisters until golden brown on both sides. Scoop them out of the hot oil with a slotted spoon and transfer them immediately into the syrup and let them sit there as long as you can. Keep frying the Koeksisters and once you've run out of room in the pan take out the ones that have soaked the longest and place them on a wire rack to cool.
The Koeksisters should literally be oozing with syrup, inside and out. Once all your donuts are made, eat them immediately or refrigerate them until needed. Enjoy!