Friday, May 29, 2009

Mercy's Buttermilk Rusks


Background:
Saul's mom Mercy made the best rusks. Growing up I remember going to Saul's house in Walmer and hoping that his mother had made rusks. They are hard and crunchy, sweet and milky. After we moved to Israel, I set about trying to fnd out how to make these. Blackmothero came to the rescue. She spoke to Roselie, Steven's mom, who live near Saul's back in the old country. Roselie had the recipe. So my mom wrote it down, in code (or in her own handwriting, which can be used as code). See: Note: These rusks are enjoyed by young and old. If your teeth aren't up to it, they "toonk" well in tea. They are especially beloved by babies as they are very hard and can be gnawed on for hours.

Ingredients: Aniseed and/or Raisins and/or Nuts
3 lbs (1.3kg or 8 cups) Self Raising Flour3 Cups Buttermilk
1 1/3 Cups Sugar1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Vinegar1/2 lb (225g) Margarine or Butter
Yolk of 1 egg 2 Heaped tsp Baking Powder

Directions:
Sift the self-raising flour into a big basin. The rub the butter (or marg) into the flour until there are no lumps. (I do this by hand but my mother used to use a Kenwood). Add the salt and the Baking Power and mix thoroughly.

In a cup beat the egg yolk and vinegar, and put it aside. Pour the buttermilk and sugar into a pot and stir while warming to a little hotter than tepid (not very scientific). Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the egg and vinegar.

Now add all the liquid to the flour mixture in the big basin. When mixed in, pour the gooey mess onto a flat surface and start kneading. Knead "well" until the dough is smooth. Check it out:At this point I usually section the dough into three for plain, aniseed and raisin rusks. Knead in a few handfuls of aniseed, making sure they are distributed well. Do the same with the raisins and/or nuts. Now grease a deep baking pan, the instructions say use two 5"x12" tins, but I use the one we have. Roll off balls of the dough and place them into the pan so the touch one another.Heat the oven to 325 Degrees F (165 Degrees C). Cover the tin with aluminum foil and cook for 15mins then for a further 30 mins (or until brown on top). While the rusks are still warm, break them apart and lay them on a large pan. Leave them in a cool oven (75 degrees C) overnight until completely hard and dry. Enjoy the crunch with coffee or tea.

4 comments:

arnieo said...

So I am told that in the USA the self raising flour is different to the self raising flour that we grew up using. I believe there is too much salt - any suggestions?

jozie said...

Arnieo,
leave out the salt from the recipe and proceed as directed.
Jo

blackpetero said...

Joanne claims that if you use American Self Raising Flour then you just don't put in the salt. I am not sure, but I'll bet your wife knows.

After a brief google, it appears that self raising flour has 1.5 tsps baking powder and .5 teaspoons salt per cup of regular flour. So you would have too much salt. Make your own self raising flour for the recipe by using 4 teaspoons of Baking Powder and 8 cups white flour. You will still have to add two more heaped tsps baking powder according to the recipe.

oliviao said...

Yes, there is still too much salt even if you leave out the salt in the recipe, so you have to make your own self-raisoing flour else they taste awful. Your rusks look awesome! Hope Arnie will try some tomorrow when I am working!