A Nostalgic Journey into South African Jam Tertjies: A Family Recipe | The Cape Grocer

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A Nostalgic Journey into South African Jam Tertjies: A Family Recipe

The aroma of freshly baked treats wafting through the air, the warmth of a loving kitchen, and the sweet taste of nostalgia—these are just a few things that come to mind when I think about my grandmother's jam tertjies. These traditional South African bite-sized pastries boast a perfect balance between a buttery, flaky crust and a sweet, tangy jam filling, creating a delightful treat that has left a lasting impression on my taste buds.

A Trip Down Memory Lane: My grandmother was the epitome of an old-school baker. She spent countless hours in the kitchen, crafting homemade bread, milktart, and an assortment of cookies for her grandchildren during their summer visits. Her delicious creations included jam tertjies, hertzoggies, and ginger cookies, each lovingly prepared and eagerly devoured by her adoring family.

As life got busier and time slipped by, I regretfully did not spend enough time in the kitchen with my grandmother, learning her secret techniques and treasured recipes. Despite this, the taste of her jam tertjies remains etched in my memory, a testament to the power of food to transport us back to cherished moments in our lives.

 In the spirit of preserving tradition and sharing the joy of these delicious treats, I'm excited to present a jam tertjies recipe from Nadine and her Ouma. My hope is that this recipe will not only bring back sweet memories for those who have tasted these delightful pastries before but also introduce a new generation to the rich culinary heritage of South Africa

Hope you enjoy it


  • 5 cups cake wheat flour
  • 2 tbs cold water
  • 2 ml salt
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 500g butter


Step 1. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, salt, and cream of tartar) in a large bowl.

Step 2: Grate the cold butter into the bowl.

Step 3: Mix the butter into the flour mixture until it forms a crumbly texture.


Step 4: Add the cold water and combine until the dough comes together. Refrigerate the dough overnight.


Step 5: Divide the dough into smaller pieces.


Step 6: Roll out the dough and fold it over, repeating this process three times to create a flaky texture.


Step 7: Roll out the dough to a thickness of 3 mm.


Step 8: Cut out 8.5 cm circles using a cookie cutter or the rim of a glass.


Step 9: Place half a teaspoon of your favorite jam in the center of each circle. Traditionaly apricot jam :) 


Step 10: Dampen one-half of the pastry edge with a little water to help it stick together.


Step 11: Fold the pastry over into a half-moon shape and press the edges down to seal.


Step 12: Preheat the oven to 200°C


Stpe 13: Arrange the jam tertjies on a non-stick baking sheet and brush each with beaten egg.


Stpe 14:  Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Don't worry if some jam seeps out during baking; it's normal.


Step 15: Allow the jam tertjies to cool on a wire rack.


Store the jam tertjies in a sealed container , or enjoy them immediately with a hot cup of tea or coffee.

This cherished family recipe for South African jam tertjies will transport you to a time when life was simpler, and these delightful pastries were enjoyed during afternoons spent with loved ones. Give this recipe a try and experience the warmth and nostalgia of traditional South African baking.




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