There was no way I was not going to bake Tannie Maria’s Muesli Buttermilk Rusks. After all, they are one of the main characters in the wonderful murder mystery by Sally Andrew called Recipes for Love and Murder.
The story is set in the Klein Karoo, an area about 2 hours outside of Cape Town and tells the story of Tannie Maria, “a fifty-something, short and soft (perhaps a bit too soft in the wrong places)” who gets involved in a murder investigation. She is the agony aunt for the local paper, giving advice to readers by providing encouraging and wise words as well as just the right recipe for something mouth watering too.
I have huge admiration for Tannie Maria, who seem to be able to cook a fabulous dinner, bake a cake, a batch of these muesli buttermilk rusks, write a column and investigate a murder, all in a day without breaking a sweat. The last few pages of the book has a selection of recipe for some of the dishes that appears in the story and since the rusks appear regularly in the book I got down to bake them.
It was the first time I have ever baked my own rusks. I have grown up with my mother’s pretty much perfect buttermilk rusks, who at the age of 81 still bakes them regularly, so there is a regular supply to bring home. I have to say Tannie Maria’s Muesli Buttermilk Rusks are fantastic but they have to settle for second best against my mom’s.
I found the rusks a bit too sweet and I think it comes from the muesli I used. Taste the muesli and if it is quite sweet I would suggest to reduce the sugar in the recipe by about 50 grams or so. But they are delicious and buttery and had to stop myself from constantly going back to the tin for another one.
I played around with the combination of dried fruits, nuts and seeds based on what I had the cupboard and Tannie Maria recommends that in her recipe but make sure you keep the weight of the dry ingredients the same. Enjoy!
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Tannie Maria’s Muesli Buttermilk Rusks
- 1 kg cake flour
- 40 g baking powder
- 4 tsp salt
- 200 g toasted muesli
- 100 g sultanas or raisins
- 75 g chopped dried apples
- 170 g sunflower seeds
- 40 g desiccated coconut
- 35 g linseeds
- 35 g sesame seeds
- 30 g pumpkin seeds
- 400 g brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 500 ml buttermilk
- 500 g butter melted
- You can add any nuts, seeds or dried fruit of your preference as long as the overall amount of dry ingredients stays the same
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C
- Grease 4 standard loaf tins or one 30 x 40 cm tin
- Mix all the dry ingredients together
- Beat the eggs and mix in the buttermilk and melted butter
- Add the dry ingredients and mix well
- Spoon the mixture into the tin/s about 3cm thick and bake for about 45 - 60 minutes until cooked through and a skewer inserted comes out clean
- Leave to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack and cool completely
- Once cool, cut into rusks, about 2cm thick or as you prefer
- Dry overnight in a warming drawer or in a 80 - 100 degrees C oven for about 4 - 6 hours or longer until hard and dried out.
- (Place them straight onto the oven racks to dry and you might have to do this in batches depending on the size of your oven)
- Store in an airtight container
Here are two more of my favourite cookie and biscuit recipes: