My gran’s pumpkin fritters | Pampoen koekies

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Light and fluffy pumpkin fritters (pampoen koekies) with caramel sauce. This recipe handed down to me by my gran is nostalgia on a plate and will become a family favorite in no time.


Pumpkin fritters

Whenever my gran brought a tray of these delicious pumpkin fritters out after lunch, I jumped up and down like only a little girl in love with her gran’s cooking can. I was obsessed with the light and fluffy fritters covered in rich caramel sauce. And now, years later, I feel no different.

Pumpkin fritters

Whilst writing my first book my beloved gran passed away and even though I was heartbroken, the memories I have of her will always put a smile on my face. Like the number of times I begged her to bake cookies with me. We rolled out the dough, cut the cookies and I waited patiently whilst the first batch was in the oven. The moment they were cool enough to touch, I would take the whole tray and go sit in the corner, scoffing them one by one, leaving my gran to roll out, cut and bake the rest.

She never got irritated and she never became impatient. I learned that food could heal and that the kitchen was a place that things were forgiven. Her memory will forever live on in our minds and hearts and most definitely also her recipes. She changed the way our family thought about food and she was most definitely the biggest food influence in my life. I learned to cook by her knee. I miss her everyday but I’m sad while doing so, because a life like hers should only be celebrated.

Caramel sauce for pumpkin fritters

Back to these phenomenal pumpkin fritters (or as we call them in Afrikaans, Pampoen koekies), they really are all they are hyped up to be. I once cooked a fellow food blogger friend a batch and he proceeded to eat close to 20. In one sitting. They are rich, sticky, buttery and absolutely drool-worthy.

My gran used to serve them with this caramel sauce and I remember it being a light coloured but incredibly rich sauce. I normally allow it to cook a bit more to get a deeper colour but then you might need to add a bit more cream. I also added a pinch of salt flakes as the salty caramel works so well with the pumpkin.  Everyone I feed these to falls instantly in love with my ouma’s pampoen koekies and I guarantee that you will too!

Pumpkin fritters

How do you make pumpkin fritters?

The batter is incredibly simple and very much the same as a pancake batter. Flour (you can use 1:1 gluten free flour if you wish), sugar and baking powder are mixed with pumpkin puree, egg and milk to form a smooth, thick batter. Spoonfuls of the batter are fried until golden and crisp before being drenched in delicious caramel sauce.

Can you freeze pumpkin fritters?

The fritters will lose their texture when frozen so its not recommended. They are best served fresh and warm but you can make them a few hours ahead and keep them covered, in a low-heated oven for up to 2/3 hours. You can also pour over the caramel sauce ahead of time to allow the fritters to soak up the sauce. You can also refrigerate the fritter batter covered for up to 2 days ahead of time.

4.43 from 19 votes
Pumpkin fritters
My gran's pumpkin fritters | Pampoen koekies
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
40 mins
Light and fluffy pumpkin fritters (pampoen koekies) with caramel sauce. This recipe handed down to me by my gran is nostalgia on a plate.
Course: Dessert, Pumpkin, South African
Cuisine: South African
Keyword: caramel, pumpkin fritters, pumpkin recipe
Servings: 20
Calories: 148 kcal
Author: Alida Ryder
For the fritters
  • 1 cup pumpkin cooked and pureed
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup milk
  • pinch of salt
  • oil for deep frying
For the Caramel Sauce
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • ½ cup golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
For the fritters
  1. Combine all the ingredients and mix until you have a smooth batter.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and fry spoonfuls of the batter until golden brown and cooked throughout, approximately 2-3 minutes.
  3. Remove from the oil and allow to drain on kitchen paper.
  4. Continue until all the fritters are cooked.
For the Caramel Sauce
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and allow to cook over a medium heat for 10-15 minutes until the sauce is thick and glossy.
  2. Pour the syrup over the fritters and serve.
Nutrition Facts
My gran's pumpkin fritters | Pampoen koekies
Amount Per Serving
Calories 148 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 9%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 29mg 10%
Sodium 142mg 6%
Potassium 99mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 20g 7%
Sugars 15g
Protein 1g 2%
Vitamin A 14.8%
Vitamin C 0.7%
Calcium 3.5%
Iron 2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Showing 81 comments
  • Mar

    I have a useful note for anyone who doesn’t have golden syrup or caster sugar!
    As I made these, I did some research on caster sugar. I just ground granulated sugar in my coffee grinder, since caster sugar is basically a finer-grained sugar. Don’t grind it TOO much, or you’ll get powdered sugar!
    And for the syrup, instead of 1/2 cup golden syrup, I used 1/4 cup honey and 1/4 cup pancake syrup (log cabin syrup). It may not have tasted as yummy and caramely as this recipe, but was still gooey and tasty! Hope this helps anyone!
    And the pumpkin fritters were BEYOND delicious! Thank you for this wonderful recipe!

  • Shanna

    Do you think I could use applesauce instead of the pumpkin?

    • Alida Ryder

      Shanna, I think apple sauce might be too runny so you’ll have to use lots of flour and that might result in a tough fritter.

    • kathy

      Perhaps after draining the applesauce in a coffee-filter lined strainer?

  • Heidi

    This recipe looks incredible and what a legacy for your gran to leave. Wow, show stopper. Pinned and Pinned!

  • Ashley Jean

    what is pumpkin cooked? is it a puree?

  • Susan Andrews

    I want to make these but what is golden syrup? I’ve never heard of it.

    • Alida Ryder

      Susan, golden syrup is a syrup similar to maple syrup but with the consistency of runny honey. I’m sure you’ll be able to find it or something similar at a grocery store.

      • Susan Andrews

        Thank you!

  • Shobee

    Love the pictures…

  • Candy

    I’d love to try these but I have a couple of quick questions. What is golden syrup? And can I use regular sugar instead of caster sugar? Thanks!

    • Alida Ryder

      Candy, golden syrup is a British product, similar to maple syrup but with the consistency of runny honey. I’m sure you’d be able to find it in a grocery store. It often comes in little tins.

      • Bonita

        Golden Syrup is not widely available in the United States. It is an invert sugar (which kind of gives it it’s gooey-ness) and the only widely available invert sugar syrup is corn syrup (a cheap knock-off of golden syrup) It works well in this recipe, and although maple syrup or honey gives the sauce a different consistency they work ok too with 1/4 c honey and 1/4 c maple syrup.

        • Peggy Robinson

          Golden syrup is found in stores like Wholefoods, Kings, maybe Trader Joe’s not sure. I grew up using it on pancakes and serving with a slice of lemon. It is in a green can. We never used maple syrup since I grew up under the British system.

          • Alida Ryder

            Thanks for your comment Peggy!

  • Lori Lange

    These look SOOOOO good!

  • Asha Shivakumar

    Omg, saw these on FG and had to visit. Your memories are so beautiful with your grandma and these fritters are gorgeous and of course who could stop at 2-3…btw love your pictures. I am pinning …

  • sugar&spice

    This takes me back to SUnday afternoon spread on the ‘platteland’! It is close to pudding and your pictures is devine! WEll done and thanks…my mom sometimes also made it with sweet potatoes 🙂

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