It’s not everyday that one gets to experiment with a recipe that’s over 200 years old. Last Saturday was such an occasion. Early morning saw me nursing my first cup of coffee on the front stoep. My neighbourhood’s resident guinea fowl came calling; territorial squirrels chased each other along the telephone line running from the street to my house; and the cat sat at my feet trying to work out how to kill something. It was shaping up to be a fine day, so I decided to bake.
Paging through one of gran’s many dog-eared recipe books, I came across a newspaper clipping honey-gold with age. It dates back to the 1950s and contains a recipe for ‘soetkoekies’ passed on by then 78-year-old Judith Engelbrecht of Pretoria. She’s long gone of course, but she was a descendant of Voortrekker leader, Andries Pretorius, after whom the city Pretoria was named. According to the clipping, these were Andries Pretorius’ soetkoekies. I doubt Andries baked, but I bet he was happy every time Mrs Pretorius served these. It’s an incredibly easy soetkoekie recipe and just the way I think soetkoekies should be, laden with spice.