South African Recipes

South African Pampoenkoekies Recipe: History, Tips & More

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Howzit, mates! I’m beyond excited to talk about a truly lekker South African delight today – Pampoenkoekies, or pumpkin fritters, as you might call them. This traditional dish is a culinary joy, a sweet and spicy wonder that’s bound to take your taste buds on a thrilling ride.

south african pampoenkoekies


Matthew Rolfe
Total Time 1 hour
Course Dessert, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine South African
Servings 4 people


  • 1 Large pot
  • 1 Mixing Bowl
  • 1 Frying pan
  • 1 Slotted Spoon
  • 1 Plate lined with paper towel
  • 1 Plate lined with paper towel


  • 500 g Pumpkin
  • 2 Eggs
  • 60 g Self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Pinch of salt
  • 200 g Sugar (For the syrup)
  • 125 ml water (For the syrup)
  • 1 Cinnamon stick (For the syrup)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla essence (For the syrup)


  • First things first, let's get that pumpkin cooked. Chop it up, pop it in your pot and cover with water. Bring it to the boil and let it cook until soft, usually around 20 minutes.
  • Once cooked, drain your pumpkin well and let it cool down a bit.
  • In your mixing bowl, mash up the pumpkin, then crack in the eggs and give it a good stir.
  • Now add in the self-raising flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and sugar. Give it another good mix until everything is well combined.
  • Next up, let's make the syrup. In a pot, combine the sugar, water, cinnamon stick, and vanilla essence. Stir it over medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let it simmer for another 10 minutes, then take it off the heat.
  • Back to our pumpkin mixture, heat up a generous amount of vegetable oil in your frying pan. You'll want enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan and then some.
  • Now, carefully spoon dollops of the pumpkin mixture into the hot oil. Fry them until they're golden brown on each side, then scoop them out with a slotted spoon and let them drain on your lined plate.
  • Last but not least, drizzle your pampoenkoekies with the cinnamon syrup you made earlier.
Keyword Pampoenkoekies

Pampoenkoekies History

Our delicious Pampoenkoekies have deep roots in South African culinary history. The word “Pampoenkoekies” comes straight from Afrikaans, one of South Africa’s official languages. “Pampoen” translates to “pumpkin” and “koekies” means “little cakes”. Now, isn’t that adorable? Pampoenkoekies are also fondly referred to as “pumpkin fritters” in English-speaking communities. The exact origins of Pampoenkoekies are hard to pin down. It’s generally believed that the recipe evolved from the Dutch influence on South African cuisine, particularly the use of pumpkin in sweet dishes. However, this is based on conjecture.

Tips & Tricks

I’ve whipped up my fair share of Pampoenkoekies over the years, and here are my top tips. When cooking the pumpkin, ensure it’s thoroughly soft – it’s key for the right texture. And, remember, the cooler the pumpkin when mashing, the less steam in your eyes! Combine your ingredients gently but thoroughly for a well-blended batter. Lastly, when frying your koekies, ensure the oil is properly heated. It guarantees a crisp, golden exterior, which contrasts wonderfully with the soft, fluffy interior.

Best Occassions to Serve Pampoenkoekies

Pampoenkoekies, with their sweet-spicy allure, are perfect for any time you fancy a treat! They’re especially loved during the holidays, adding a comforting touch to Christmas or Easter feasts. Autumn gatherings, when pumpkins are aplenty, are also ideal. Or serve them up at your next braai for a delightful South African touch!

Recipes & Sides That Go Well With Pampoenkoekies

Braaied Meat: Balances the sweetness of Pampoenkoekies with a savoury touch.
Chicken Potjie: Pampoenkoekies complement this saucy South African classic.
Lamb Potjie: If you’re not a fan of chicken, this lamb potjie alternative is a great choice.
Soft Inkomazi Scones: If the scones are being served as part of a larger meal, pampoenkoekies could act as a sweet side dish, offering a nice balance to the scones’ neutral flavor.
Custard: Adds a creamy texture that compliments the crispy Pampoenkoekies.
Vanilla Ice Cream: Serves as a cold contrast to the warm fritters.

Ingredient Alternatives for Pampoenkoekies

Butternut Squash: A great alternative to pumpkin.
Gluten-Free Flour: For those who can’t tolerate gluten.
Honey: A natural substitute for sugar in the syrup.

Nutritional Facts

Per serving for four people:

Calories: About 500
Carbs: Roughly 80g
Sugars: Approximately 40g
Fats: Close to 25g
Protein: Around 8g
Fibre: About 3g
While Pampoenkoekies are a bit high in sugars and fats, they’re undeniably delicious and best enjoyed in moderation.

Troubleshooting (Common Problems)

Not crispy enough: Make sure your oil is hot enough before frying.
Fritters falling apart: The pumpkin might be too wet; try draining it better.
Too sweet or not sweet enough: Adjust the sugar in the syrup to taste.

Pampoenkoekies Alternatives and Similar Recipes

Sweet Potato Fritters: They offer a different but equally delicious taste.
Buttermilk Rusks: This dry South African biscuit provides sweetness and is a great snack to enjoy with coffee or tea.
Apple Fritters: A fruity twist on the classic Pampoenkoekies.
Churros with Cinnamon Sugar: If you’re craving something deep-fried and sweet.
Vetkoek Recipe: If you’re looking for a slightly lighter, yet still authentically South African alternative to Vetkoek, pampoenkoekies could be a good option. They can be filled or topped with a similar variety of sweet or savory ingredients as Vetkoek.
Roosterkoek: As roosterkoek is typically served with barbequed meat (braai), pampoenkoekies could serve as a sweet and lighter alternative to the bread.
Now, go ahead and indulge in a bit of South African sweetness, my friends. Enjoy your cooking journey!

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