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Cinnamon Dumplings
Traditional South African Dessert

"What?" you say "DUMPLINGS for DESSERT? No way! Aren't dumplings those stodgy, gooey things old people used to put in soups and stews and stuff?"

If that's your reaction to having cinnamon dumplings for dessert then obviously you've never had Traditional South African SOUSKLUITJIES

"Oh yes I have," you say. "Went out to my girlfriend's mother's house once and she served things she called souskluitjies for dessert...Had to force myself to eat them so as not to upset anyone. Horrible glutinous mass. Basically some sugar sprinkled on a greyish ball of dough!"

Well, if what you were served was truly as you described then it certainly wasn't Souskluitjies, but was probably made from some recipe copied from the internet were someone had re-copied a re-copied (and so on) recipe that someone, somewhere who'd never been to South Africa called souskluitjies.

That my friend, in a nutshell, explains the problem of why traditional recipes are fast disappearing. Someone posts incorrect information which then gets copied to various sites and becomes the definitive recipe replacing the correct one...

If you really want a delicious traditional South African dessert, Souskluitjies, or cinnamon dumplings, made properly are definitely worth a try

NOTE:-Souskluitjies were an extremely popular dessert from the mid 17th century to about 1960 when they started losing popularity due to the advent of "instant" desserts. They were especially popular during the great depression because when eggs, cream and milk were omitted souskluitjies formed a cheap, filling dessert


Dumpling Mixture
140g (5oz) Cake Flour
5ml (1tsp) baking powder
5ml (1tsp) cinnamon powder
1ml (¼tsp) salt
60g (2oz) butter
15ml (1Tbsp) sugar
125ml (½cup) milk
Note:- Margarine is not butter

Sauce Ingredients
1 litre (4 cups) water (depending on the size of the pot you're using
Pinch salt
400g (14oz) soft brown sugar
15ml (1Tbsp) malt vinegar
30ml (2Tbsp) butter
45ml (3Tbsp) ground cinnamon
125ml (½cup) cream (optional)
250ml (1cup) milk (optional)
75ml (5Tbsp) yellow custard powder (or corn flour)
Cinnamon sugar (1 part ground cinnamon to 5 parts sugar) for sprinkling over the dumplings
125ml (½cup) cream (optional)

Making the Souskluitjies

Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon powder and salt together, into a mixing bowl

Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the sifted ingredients until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs

Beat together the eggs and sugar until creamy then add the milk and beat again

Slowly add the liquid to the dry ingredients, mixing well until a smooth dropping consistency batter is formed.

Add the salt to the water and bring to a rolling boil.
(Note:- The water must be at least 5cm [2inches] deep and the saucepan should have a tight-fitting lid)

Add 10ml (2tsp) of ground cinnamon to the water and reduce the heat to a gentle boil

Dip a teaspoon (nothing larger) into the water and use it to drop a teaspoonfuls of batter into the water

Depending on the size of your saucepan do not attempt to make more than 6 or 7 souskluitjies at a time as they expand considerably and need room to move apart from each other

Cover the pot with its lid and boil gently for 10 minutes. Do not lift the lid during this time or the dumplings will not rise and they will become stodgy

While the first batch of dumplings are cooking preheat the oven and a serving dish to 90oC (200oF)

Remove the dumplings with a slotted spoon and place in the warm dish, sprinkle some of the cinnamon sugar over the top and keep warm in the oven. Repeat the process of using a hot teaspoon to spoon the batter into the boiling water and cook in batches until all the batter is used up.

By this time you should have layers of souskluitjies in the serving dish with each layer having been sprinkled with cinnamon sugar

The Souskluitjie Sauce

Add the milk to the water remaining in the pot after cooking the dumplings (if you're not using milk add an equivalent amount of water

Bring to a slow boil, add the brown sugar, and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved

Add the vinegar, butter, and cinnamon, stir well and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer

Mix the custard powder (or corn flour) into a smooth paste with a little cold water
If you use corn flour it's a nice idea to add a drop or two of vanilla essence into the paste

Slowly add the custard powder/corn flour paste to the syrup to thicken it.

Whip the cream (if using) until peaks form

Pour the syrup over the souskluitjies in the serving dish and serve with the whipped cream.... hmmm Delicious!!!

NOW that's really traditional SOUTH AFRICAN SOUSKLUITJIES or CINNAMON DUMPLINGS as some Engelse would say....

As a side note:- People nowadays, whether due to time constraints or possibly health reasons, generally serve souskluitjies without the syrup but Hey, a little bit of a splurge now and again won't hurt so go on, let your hair down and treat yourself to a bit of deliciously nice spice...

Darn, writing this has made my mouth water, I think I'll go and cook up a batch of souskluitjies right now!

My Africhef African Recipes Cookbook is currently unavailable as I am revising it and re-writing it in Kindle format, meanwhile I suggest the following

THANKS!... Africhef

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