I've been wanting to make these for a while, but the amount of time it takes has always put me off. Not this time! I've been stealing delicious buttermilk rusks from Morne, who sits next to me in the office, and I decided that I liked them enough to try to make my own, so it was time to pay him back.
Rusks are just such wonderful things. They're not creamy, or super sweet, they're not soft, or rich, or anything that a cake or cookies are really. And yet they're so moreish in their crunchy selves. They make me feel cosy- like it's snowing outside and I'm in front of a fire with a cup of tea.
I wanted to have home made rusks at home because it makes it more of a home, as all baking does. And these last longer! They came out absolutely delicious. If I make them again though, I would definitely use smaller containers, as these rusks were a bit short, and apparently that's a matter of how crowded they are.
You'll notice that they're baked twice. The first time, they come out looking like this:
And finally, here's what they look like when they're done:
They have that wonderful sour- sweetness of buttermilk.. When you dip them into tea, they're warm and crumbly in your mouth. It's a way to savour the slight chilliness of the morning that is still hanging around from winter, as soon the morning cup won't be that satisfying.
adapted from The Ultimate Book of Baking
1.25 kg cake flour
45 ml baking powder
5 ml salt
1 cup sugar
3 extra large eggs
2 cups buttermilk (I used a bit more)
1) Preheat oven at 180 C
2) Sift the flour, and add the baking powder and salt. Then add sugar. Whisk.
3) In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and add the buttermilk and whisk.
4) Melt the butter, add to the wet ingredients and whisk.
5) Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Mix with a large spoon. Then switch to dough hooks on a mixer and mix until uniform.
6) Coat an oven dish with spray and cook or non stick coating. I used 11 inch and 9 inch cake pans. I suggest to try 2 x 9 inch cake pans. Any tin is okay really, but the end result should be densely packed.
7) Make balls and place in the oven dishes. Bake for 45 - 50 minutes, or until golden on top.
8) Turn out onto wire racks and cool. Then break apart and dry for 6- 8 hours with the oven on 50- 70 C. Jam a table spoon in the oven door to enable moisture to escape. I forgot (overslept) mine for about 9 hours and they came out great!
I love these, they make enough to keep a bunch at home and for Ralph and I to take some to work. Ralph put together those gorgeous photos- don't they make you just long for a rusk? I'm going to have one ASAP!