Tea time treats

Traditional South African Milk tart

Traditional South African Milk tart

Milk Tart is such a well loved dessert that there is even a National Milk Tart day. Yes, that’s really a thing in South Africa because we really love our traditional South African milk tart.

There are many different ways to make a ‘melk tert’ or milk tart, and recipes are often strictly guarded and handed down from generation to generation.

The two that I am most familiar with use either an uncooked short crust pastry base and very liquid filling of milk, eggs and condensed milk that is baked once; or a blind baked short crust pastry base and cooked filling that is baked again to set the custard. The textures are completely different, but equally delicious.

Unfortunately for me, the recipes that I loved most growing up are not recorded anywhere, except in the minds of the aunts and cousins from whom they were learnt. I spent a few hours browsing through my recipe files, and the closest I came to finding a recipe for Aunty Josie’s milk tart, was a comment on her pineapple tart recipe saying ‘use the same base as the milk tart’.

For my traditional South African milk tart I combined the two techniques, using my own homemade short crust pastry  base that was blind baked, with a smooth creamy cooked filling sweetened with condensed milk and scented with vanilla and cinnamon.

Traditional South African Milk tart

Traditional South African Milk tart

Course: Tea time treats
Cuisine: South African
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 310 kcal
Author: Razena Schroeder
My take on a classic South African baked milk tart with a light and creamy filling sweetened with condensed milk and scented with vanilla and cinnamon.
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Ingredients

Shortcrust Pastry

  • 125 grams cold butter
  • 45 ml sugar Castor or fine granulated sugar
  • 225 grams cake flour
  • 1 egg large
  • 30 ml cold water approximately 2 tablespoons

Filling

  • 65 grams butter
  • 45 ml cake flour
  • 198 grams condensed milk approximately 1/2 tin
  • 500 ml milk approximately 2 cups
  • 3 eggs large, separated
  • pinch salt added to the egg whites before whisking
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2.5 ml cinnamon powder approximately 1/2 to 1 teaspoon for dusting before serving

Instructions

  1. For the pastry, pulse the butter, flour and sugar in a food processor until it has the consistency of breadcrumbs. Alternately, rub in the cold butter with two knives or a pastry cutter. Try not to use your hands as it will warm up the butter.
  2. Add the egg and water and mix until just combined.
  3. Bring the pastry into a ball and flatten into a disk on a piece of cling wrap. This makes it easier to roll into a round shape later.
  4. Chill and rest the pastry for about 30 minutes before use.
  5. Switch on the oven and pre-heat to 200 degrees celcius / 400 F / Gas mark 6.
  6. Roll out the pastry and line a 25 cm tart pan ensuring that the pastry overlaps the sides a bit as it may shrink during baking if not rested enough. I chilled it again for another 10 minutes before baking.
  7. Prick the base and line with parchment paper and baking beans or beans, and bake blind for about 10 minutes.
  8. Remove the baking beans and bake for another five minutes. Be careful not to get a burn as you may drop the beans and damage the tart case.
  9. Reduce the oven temperature to 170 degrees celcius / 350 F / Gas mark 4.
  10. For the filling mix the butter and flour ensuring there are no lumps. Add in the condensed milk and vanilla and lastly the egg yolks and mix until smooth.
  11. Heat the milk until it reaches boiling point, and add a little to the egg mixture ensuring that you whisk out all the lumps. Slowly add the rest of the milk and then return to the heat.
  12. Stir the milk mixture on the heat until the mixture thickens and it starts to bubble.
  13. Remove the pot from the stove and let the mixture cool for about 10 minutes.
  14. Whisk the egg whites until they are glossy but not too stiff. It should be soft peaks at this stage, not the 'tip it over your head and it doesn't drop' stiffness.
  15. Fold the egg whites into the cooled custard mixture.
  16. Pour into the pastry case and bake for 15-20 minutes until it is set.
  17. Do not overbake as it will rise and sink like an overdone souffle.
  18. Sprinkle with cinnamon powder and serve.

Recipe Notes

I use cake flour or fine sponge flour for the pastry as well as the filling. If you are using any other type of flour the consistency may differ.

1 cup of All purpose flour is supposed to be equivalent to 1 1/4 cups of cake flour. I weigh my ingredients but do not know what the equivalent weights are as I do not use All purpose flour for my fine baked goods.

Nutrition Facts
Traditional South African Milk tart
Amount Per Serving (100 g)
Calories 310 Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 26%
Saturated Fat 10g 50%
Cholesterol 98mg 33%
Sodium 173mg 7%
Potassium 158mg 5%
Total Carbohydrates 31g 10%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Sugars 15g
Protein 7g 14%
Vitamin A 11.7%
Vitamin C 0.5%
Calcium 11.1%
Iron 2.8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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70 Comments

  • Reply
    Sandra @ A Dash of Sanity
    September 1, 2015 at 8:27 am

    I have never made a milk tart before, but it sounds delicious! I love simple but yummy desserts like this!

    • Reply
      Razena
      September 1, 2015 at 11:04 am

      Simpler the better, especially if it is tasty 🙂 Most non-blogger cooks are too busy with other things to have time for complicated dishes unless they have something really special planned.

  • Reply
    Trish
    August 31, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    oooooh I love traditional family recipes. This one sounds delicious!

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 31, 2015 at 10:33 pm

      I hope you try it some time 🙂

  • Reply
    Chrissie (thebusybaker.ca)
    August 31, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    This looks like the kind of dessert I would love! Simple but SO good! Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 31, 2015 at 10:32 pm

      You are most welcome 🙂

  • Reply
    Michelle@healthiersteps
    August 31, 2015 at 6:34 am

    I’m intrigued by recipes that are passed down from one generation to the next. My grandma and mother never cooked using recipes so I was taught the same way.

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 31, 2015 at 8:41 am

      That is so true, my mum and her sisters seldom had a written down recipe, except for baked goods. Most of my mum’s best recipes were ones she developed sitting at the kitchen table and wondering what to make for unexpected guests who were dropping by a short time later.

  • Reply
    Whitney @ That Square Plate
    August 30, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    I love authentic recipes like this one!! Thanks for sharing, it sounds delicious!

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 30, 2015 at 10:58 pm

      You are most welcome. I hope that you try it sometime 🙂

  • Reply
    Sabrina @ Dinner, then Dessert
    August 30, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    I’d never even heard of a milk tart before! It sounds like a very interesting dessert!

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 30, 2015 at 9:58 pm

      I’m sure you haven’t, it is one of the typically South African desserts that I love 🙂

  • Reply
    Claudia | Gourmet Project
    August 30, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    wow, great find! Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 30, 2015 at 9:21 pm

      You are most welcome 🙂

  • Reply
    Katalina @ Peas & Peonies
    August 30, 2015 at 7:47 am

    I have never had a tart made with condensed milk, but as a condensed milk die hard fan I am sure I would love this one!

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 30, 2015 at 9:55 am

      I find that condensed milk gives milky and/or eggy desserts a much fuller flavor than plain sugar. I hope you will try it and let me know.

  • Reply
    Tracy @ Served From Scratch
    August 30, 2015 at 6:48 am

    Old family recipes are the BEST. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 30, 2015 at 9:52 am

      You are most welcome 🙂

  • Reply
    Richa
    August 29, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    Wow never tried this before! Looks delicious.

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 29, 2015 at 10:24 pm

      Thank you… I hope you will try it now and let me know what you think 🙂

  • Reply
    Kathryn @ FoodieGirlChicago
    August 29, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    This recipe is totally new to me – looks like something I need to try!!

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 29, 2015 at 8:37 pm

      I hope you do 🙂

  • Reply
    Cassandrea @ chewsandbrews.ca
    August 29, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    This is a new recipe to me – I haven’t heard of a milk tart before – it looks delicious and I am excited to try something new!!

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 29, 2015 at 8:31 pm

      Thank you. I hope you try it and let me know what you think 🙂

  • Reply
    Sara @ LifesLittleSweets.com
    August 29, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    This recipe is totally new to me, I love learning new things, thank you for sharing this recipe!

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 29, 2015 at 7:31 pm

      You are most welcome. I hope that you will try it some time and let me know what you think.

  • Reply
    Patti @ CooksRecipeCollection.com
    August 29, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    This tart looks just fantastic! I’ll have to make it soon!

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 29, 2015 at 7:31 pm

      Thanks Patti. I hope you like it as much as we do.

  • Reply
    Rachel @ athletic avocado
    August 29, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    this looks so tasty! I need to try this!

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 29, 2015 at 6:15 pm

      I hope you do and let me know what you think 🙂

  • Reply
    Jessica
    August 29, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    Old family recipes are the best! This reminds me a little of the egg custard pies we make here in the Southern US. Delicious!

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 29, 2015 at 5:44 pm

      I agree they are the best as you have built in tutorials at every family gathering 🙂 Do you have any custard pie recipes on your website?

  • Reply
    Tina Marie
    August 29, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    This really sounds amazing. I really enjoy trying to re-make an old family recipe. It’s very heart warming when I get “almost” as good as the original.

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 29, 2015 at 5:13 pm

      Thanks Tina. I remade my mother’s original choc chip recipe using different sugars (in the same quantities) and a different method, and the result was the cookie I’ve been looking for all my life 🙂

  • Reply
    J @ A Hot Southern Mess
    August 29, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    Yum! I have never had a milk tart but I want to try one now! Yummy!

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 29, 2015 at 4:57 pm

      Try it, I am sure you will love it.

  • Reply
    Oana @AdoreFoods
    August 29, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    This one new recipe that I am really looking forward to trying it! It looks really good. Thanks for sharing it!

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 29, 2015 at 4:58 pm

      Thank you, let me know what you think of it when you 🙂

  • Reply
    Rosemary @anitalianinmykitchen
    August 29, 2015 at 10:47 am

    This tart sounds delicious, and your photos are gorgeous.

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 29, 2015 at 4:59 pm

      Thank you, you are too kind and I have so much more to learn and improve.

  • Reply
    Molly Kumar
    August 29, 2015 at 9:49 am

    I love cakes and this is definitely something new to me and looks delicious.

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 29, 2015 at 5:00 pm

      Thank you. I think it’s probably most similar to a custard pie.

  • Reply
    Marye
    August 29, 2015 at 8:58 am

    I’ve never head of a milk tart but this looks delicious.

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 29, 2015 at 5:01 pm

      Haha… I’ve heard that a few times now 🙂 Try it sometime, you may like it.

  • Reply
    Diane
    August 29, 2015 at 8:12 am

    This looks so tasty! I know how frustrating it is to work with only memories on a recipe. My Grandma left me her recipe book and a TON of barely visible hand written recipes that are vague, in her own personal language of bake. Lol . We do the best we can. Looks like you did wonderfully!

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 29, 2015 at 5:04 pm

      Thank you 🙂 It has been very difficult trying to recreate recipes mostly from memory and very distant memories at that. The ones that are easier are the ones that I used to make often myself, so often that I never wrote them down… the milk tart being a case in point. I actually found a book of my own and my mother’s handwritten recipes last year. Fortunately, most of them were quite comprehensible.

  • Reply
    Mandee Pogue
    August 29, 2015 at 7:37 am

    I have never heard of Milk Tart, but this looks amazing!!! So decadent.

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 29, 2015 at 5:04 pm

      Thank you, I hope you try it sometime 🙂

  • Reply
    Hillary Reeves
    August 29, 2015 at 5:16 am

    My sister has been begging me to make a melk tart… might just have to steal this recipe!! Thanks!

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 29, 2015 at 5:05 pm

      You are most welcome to. Let me know how it turns out and what your sister had to say about it 🙂

  • Reply
    Ciao florentina
    August 29, 2015 at 4:55 am

    i love coming across exotic recipes such as this one. Such a lovely tart!

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 29, 2015 at 5:06 pm

      Lol @ exotic… I think in Cape Town this is probably considered the most commonplace recipe with every family having their own version of it.

  • Reply
    Byron Thomas
    August 29, 2015 at 3:29 am

    Looks and sounds delicious! I love milk tart!

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 29, 2015 at 5:07 pm

      Thank you. Try it and let me know what you think. You’re an expert on all things baked so I value your opinion.

  • Reply
    Chris @ SimpleFood365
    August 29, 2015 at 12:27 am

    Very yummy looking cake!

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 29, 2015 at 5:07 pm

      Thank you.

  • Reply
    foodlovinfamily
    August 28, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    This looks beautiful and delicious. I love anything sweet. Cant wait to try.

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 29, 2015 at 5:08 pm

      Thank you for your kind words. I hope you do try it and let me know what you think.

  • Reply
    Renee
    August 28, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    This looks delicious! I need to convert the measurements, but will plan on making this for sure.

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 29, 2015 at 5:18 pm

      I noticed that on Yummly there is a choice of metric or imperial measurements. You may want to give that a shot 🙂

  • Reply
    Erin @ Platings and Pairings
    August 28, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    This looks amazingly decadent! It’s so beautiful too!

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 28, 2015 at 7:47 pm

      Thank you 🙂

  • Reply
    Sam @ PancakeWarriors
    August 28, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    I love all kinds of cake! This looks great, and definitely something different to try!

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 28, 2015 at 7:46 pm

      Thank you, I hope you try it and let me know what you think.

  • Reply
    Platter Talk
    August 28, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    We especially like your short crust pastry, as shown with your featured recipe it is versatility makes it useful for so many delicious occasions. Nicely done!

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 28, 2015 at 5:16 pm

      Thank you 🙂 It works just as well for savory tarts (minus the sugar).

  • Reply
    Sarah
    August 28, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    I so understand your recipe dilemma! There are a few family recipes that I grew up on that no one knows exactly what it is because they were never written, just passed on verbally. I bet your milk tart tastes just as good though – it certainly looks delicious!

    • Reply
      Razena
      August 28, 2015 at 2:57 pm

      Thank you 🙂

      It appears that between me first learning how to make the one milk tart recipe from my aunt more than 25 years ago, and sitting down with her last month to record her pastry and filling recipe, she decided that blind baking the pastry for the milk tart is an unnecessary step!

  • Reply
    Jan
    April 2, 2015 at 7:10 am

    fantastic.
    hope to make one soon 🙂

    • Reply
      Razena
      April 2, 2015 at 11:39 am

      I’m sure the boys will like it 🙂

      Try the crunchies as well.

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