Posted on Feb 26, 2016

In this special episode of Political Food we welcome historian Sarah Emily Duff to talk about the South African treat – Hertzoggies.

This dessert is a pastry base filled with jam and covered in a coconut meringue. They are delicious and we’re definitely going to be making more of these. Their political ties are to a former Prime Minister of South Africa — JBM Hertzog ( time in power: 1924-1939) —¬† who’s policies further entrenched segregation and limited the rights of black and colored South Africans. To learn more, listen to the episode and find some of Sarah’s insight in her post Take the Biscuit.

Sarah is a researcher at Wits in Johannesburg and maintains the food and history blog Tangerine and Cinnamon.


How To Make: Hertzoggies

We started with this recipe from thefoodfox but Sarah recommends (what she calls) “the bible of Afrikaans cooking” Cook and Enjoy. A little more on the history of this cookbook can be found on her website here, and in the extended version of our interview.

  • Granulated SugarHertzoggies ingredients
    • 3 tablespoons for pastry base
    • 1 cup for meringue
  • 3 Eggs
    • 3 yokes for pastry base
    • 3 whites for meringue
  • Flour – 2 cups
  • Baking Powder – 2 teaspoons
  • Salt – dash
  • Butter – Stick
  • Desiccated / Shredded coconut – 2 cups
  • Jam – teaspoon for each cookie (roughly 25tsps)
    • We use apricot jam and lemon curd, some recipes call for Apple and other flavors… be creative.

Preparation: Separate egg yokes and whites and set aside (yokes will be used in pastry and whites for the meringue), dice stick of butter (you can coat the butter with flour to keep it from sticking together as you cut), measure out remaining ingredients. You’ll also need a greased muffin tray, a mixer, a food processor (optional), and an oven.

Pastry:Hertzoggies - Baked!
  1. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl – 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, dash of salt and 3 tablespoons sugar.
  2. Add the diced butter and mix (either in a food processor or by hand) until it begins to look like breadcrumbs.
  3. Add (3) egg yokes and 2 tablespoons cold water and continue to mix until the mixture begins to form a ball (add more water if necessary)
  4. Roll out dough and cut thin circles (you can use a cookie cutter or a cleaned tin can to get a good shape). You want these to fit into the muffin tray and create a short rim (like a tiny pie).
  5. Place these in the muffin tray and add about a teaspoon of jam into each one.

Now is a good time to preheat the oven (but don’t put the pastries in yet!): 180 C or about 350 F.

  1. Put (3) egg whites in a large mixing bowl and mix until they form soft white peaks
  2. Continue to mix while gradually adding sugar, mix until the mixture becomes thick and glossy. This will take awhile, be patient. You’ll want it to be thick enough to stay in place when you lift it.
  3. Fold in coconut to the mixture
  4. Spoon a coat of this on each of the jam filled pastries. Enough to coat the jam but not too much.. it will rise in the oven (and explode if you add too much).

Bake for 25min.

Wait for it to cool.


Hertzoggie cookies
 While you eat, why not listen to the extended interview?


Sources / More Information / Strange Things We Found

Find Sarah Emily Duff at Tangerine and Cinnamon
Sarah’s post on Hertzoggies: Take The Biscuit

A history of the Cape Malay community from South African History Online
Gabeba Baderoon’s Regarding Muslims
Gabeba Baderoon: “The Silence Before Speaking” (youtube)

Kook en Geniet (Cook and Enjoy)Cookbook of South African cuisine

Recipe: The Food Fox & Pick and Play
In his podcast You Are Not So Smart, David McRaney tries Hertzoggies

Our theme music in this episode is Occhi de Bambola by Giovanni Vicari via the Free Music Archive




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