Kandeel for the Festive Table

Both its story and flavours make Kandeel a beautiful option for a festive dessert - especially when you celebrate a Summer Christmas!

Kandeel (caudle) is a delicacy that Jan van Riebeeck refers to in his Daghregister. In the Netherlands, it was traditionally served to visitors when a baby was born. This custom was continued at the Cape, where it was served with biscuits. Kandeel probably developed from Italian zabayon, as described in the cookbook Opera (1570) by Italian chef Scappi.

A Seventeenth-century recipe for kandeel lists French wine, water, eggs, cinnamon, cloves and sugar as ingredients. The ingredients were skilfully whisked together into a light and frothy sweet drink. It can also be prepared with more eggs so it can be eaten with a spoon, but it takes an experienced cook to prepare the eggs without the mixture curdling.

Try this recipe and serve with the delicate delight of traditional Oblietjies!


1 cup (250 ml) sweet wine

2 cinnamon sticks

8 whole cloves

Pinch of grated nutmeg

1 tbsp (15 ml) honey

4 egg yolks


Place the wine, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and honey in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, simmer to infuse and then strain through a fine sieve.

Whisk the egg yolks until light and fluffy and doubled in volume. Whisk in a hot wine mixture, then return all of it to the top of a double boiler (or in a heatproof bowl over simmering water) and continue whisking until it has thickened. Do not leave it unattended in a double boiler, as it will curdle.

Serve while still warm in glasses with little spoons on the side, accompanied by spice biscuits or the delicious caramel oblietjies from a previous blog.

If you want to serve it cold, set aside for 15 minutes and then fold in ½ cup (125 ml) whipped cream.

Dust with grated nutmeg and serve alongside a small glass of well-chilled La Motte Straw Wine as an interesting and very grown-up dessert.