South African Milk Tart is a delicate but decadent dessert. With a flaky crust and topped with a generous dusting of cinnamon, this tart is creamy and luxurious — a traditional sweet pie South Africans love. Serve it after dinner or as a teatime treat!
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Today she’s writing about South African Milk Tart, one of my favorite desserts from South Africa. I always request one when I visit my family there!
When I was growing up in South Africa, there were two kinds of homes. Those where the mother made melktert, and those who didn’t! Mine was one of the latter.
A pie of Cape Dutch origin, melktert literally translates to ‘milk tart’. It’s a bit like a custard tart, but with a different consistency. Milk tarts are luscious and creamy, and the best ones are topped with a sprinkling of cinnamon.
I adored it when my dad, who worked in downtown Cape Town, would sometimes special-order a melktert at an Afrikaans/Dutch-style restaurant called Die Koffiehuis and bring it home for the family.
This pie was the real McCoy — made with a flaky crust. It seriously melted in your mouth.
There are hundreds of melktert recipes. Somewhere along the line, my mom was given an untraditional recipe for a crustless milk tart, where the flour sank to the bottom of the pie during baking and firmed up, but it was not a favorite of mine.
I suppose technically, then, our home became one of the former where the mother made melktert! As I grew older and became more interested in cooking, I’d try out more melktert recipes.
I tried to replicate the ones from Die Koffiehuis. I had many flops and many strange-looking tarts with centers that puffed up or sank. I use a pie dish like this one.
The recipe I use now is not the type where the filling is baked. It is cooked on the stove top and poured into a crust that you bake blind ahead of time with pie weights.
You then let it set up before serving. It works for me and it never flops! Enjoy! // andrea
Click below to see the recipe for South African Milk Tart!
A creamy and delicate South African dessert.
Sweet Short Crust Pastry
- 6oz butter, softened
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 cups flour
- pinch salt
- ¼ teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1 quart milk
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
For the crust
- Cream the butter and add the sugar. Beat in the egg. Stir in the flour and salt. Knead until a soft dough has formed. Chill for 10 minutes.
- Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and layer it into a greased pie dish. Cover with a sheet of parchment paper and fill the void with pie weights. Bake blind at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove parchment and pie weights. Allow crust to cool completely on a wire rack.
For the filling
- In a heat proof bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, cornstarch, flour and vanilla. Set aside.
- In a medium size saucepan, heat the milk and butter at medium setting. Do not bring to a rolling boil.
- Add about a fourth of the milk to the egg mixture, whisking to incorporate it evenly. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan with the remainder of the milk. Return to heat and stir constantly until it thickens. Do not boil!
- Pour the filling into the pie crust and let cool completely. Refrigerate until serving. Sprinkle with cinnamon before serving.
- Serving Size: 8
Try these South African Pannekoek, another traditional food from my other “home” country.