Milk Tart or Melktert is a delicious South African dessert adapted from our Dutch heritage. In the old days it was flavoured with naartjie peel to add flavour and nowadays flavourings include almond essence and Marula syrup as variations on the traditional recipe. When growing up this was always a Sunday treat at afternoon tea.

This is the traditional recipe used in our family.


For the crust (store bought puff pastry will work just as well)
125g butter
2 tbsp sugar
1 egg
185g flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

For the filling
35g flour
3 tbsp cornflour
2 tbspn custard powder
1.2 litres milk
150g sugar
2 eggs separated
1 vanila bean split in half
2 tsp butter
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp caster sugar
2 tsp ground cinamon

Method – For the crust
Beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy.
Add the egg, flour, baking powder and vanilla and mix until combined
Press the pastry into the tart tin and chill for 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180 deg C
Lay a piece of greaseproof paper inside the pastry crust ensuring that it covers the edges.
Fill with baking beans.
Bake for 15 minutes or until the edges start to lightly colour.
Remove the greaseproof paper and baking beans and continue baking for a further 5 minutes.

Method – For the filling
Mix together the flour, cornflour and custard powder, adding a little of the milk to form a smooth paste.
Place the remaining milk in a saucepan with the sugar, egg yolks, vanilla bean and the cornflour paste.
Bring to the boil, stirring continuously, and simmer for three minutes.
Remove from the heat, stir in the butter and baking powder and set aside.
Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks.
Fold the whites into the custard mixture, remove the vanilla bean and pour into the pastry case.
In a small bowl mix together the caster sugar and cinnamon powder then sprinkle the mixture over the custard filling.
Place in the refrigerator and allow to set.