Vetkoek with Bacon Bourbon Jam

June 5th was National Doughnut Day. Did you make doughnuts?

I was out of town, so I sadly missed it this year, but I’ve been making up for it since I’ve been home and getting very excited about the upcoming launch of Doughnuts! Did you know it comes out on October 1st? Did you know you can pre-order it on Amazon now?

Can I tempt you with a sneak peak of the book?


How about, to tide you over for a bit, you try making vetkoek (which translates to fat cake)?

I spied these fritters on my way home from South Africa (another from Eat In magazine). Vetkoek, which are a very lightly sweetened yeast dough, are little fried buns that are traditionally served with everything from curry to minced meat to jam to golden syrup. They remind me a bit of Navajo fry bread.


I made a Bacon Bourbon Jam to slather on mine. Because, you know, fried dough can always use some bacon and bourbon. My bacon jam is inspired by Kevin Gillespie’s Top Chef Quickfire challenge but I added a healthy glug of Bulliet bourbon after the final stock reduction and left out the honey. I’ll note that if you do make the recipe posted on Bravo, you probably want to double or triple it because it makes less than 1/4 cup (particularly if you use my liberal taste to season method).

What a better way to get in the mood for the rest of the World Cup?



There are a fairly wide variety of vetkoek recipes out there. Some made with milk instead of the water/sugar mixture. Some with baking powder, some with yeast. I decided on a yeast based version which takes a bit longer but seemed to be the more common version.

1 cups lukewarm water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon yeast
1 tablespoon safflower oil
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for kneading
1 teaspoon salt
Safflower oil for frying

In a small bowl, combine the water, sugar and yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add the oil and vinegar.

Stir the flour and salt together in a medium bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook).

Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until you have a ragged dough. Knead the dough until smooth (with the dough hook or your hands), adding additional flour as needed when the dough gets sticky.

Cover the dough and set in a warm spot for at least 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.

Heat a pot with at least 2 inches of oil to 350 – 350F. I use Safflower oil, but canola, peanut or other high heat oil is fine too.

Turn the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll to about an inch thick. Cut into 2″ x 2″ pieces (or larger if you prefer).

Fry the dough until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side, being careful not to over crowd the pot.

Drain on a wire rack and serve warm, with golden syrup, honey, mince meat, curry or oh-la-la, bacon jam.

  • Vivian

    Ok. You had me at Doughnuts, but now I must try some of that Bacon Bourbon Jam! This will definitely be made! Thanks for posting this, I look forward to getting this book.

  • Suzan

    In the words of Usher, OMG – but in this case I am referring to doughnuts! I had no idea there was a book coming out, but I HAVE to have it. I love how you have paired this one with bacon bourbon jam – its like all the food “no-nos” have congregated in one meal. You are certainly my kind of girl!

  • Kelli

    Have you heard of skillet street food? They have a bacon jam they have been doing too… The bourbon bacon jam sounds awesome!!

    • L

      Hi Kelli,

      Yes, I love Skillet. This bacon jam is quite a bit different than theirs, as the Skillet jam I think actually includes pieces of blended up bacon which is really amazing on their burgers. It has more of a thick relish consistency than mine.