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  • Writer's pictureNicky, Digital Researcher, Africa Analyst

Melktert - South African milk tart

Updated: Mar 2, 2021

Melktert, which simply means milk tart, is a delicious creamy and sweet South African dessert. It consists of a crusty pie made with a mixture of flour, milk, eggs, butter, and sugar.

The pastry crust is baked in the oven until golden brown. The custard filling is usually made with milk, sugar, eggs, and a thickener such as flour.

The tart is sprinkled with powdered cinnamon or cinnamon sugar and served either hot or cold.

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 60 minutes

Servings: 6


  • 1 1/2 cups plain (all-purpose) flour

  • 1/3 cup icing (confectioners) sugar

  • 125g unsalted butter, chilled & chopped

  • 1 free range egg yolk

  • 1-2 tbsp cold water

Custard Filling

  • 2 cups (500ml/17fl oz) milk

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 3 eggs, separated

  • 1 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)

  • 5 tbsp plain flour

  • 5 tbsp caster sugar

  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 25g (1 oz) butter, room tempera

  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon, for dusting

  • 1 tbsp icing sugar, for dusting

Cooking Steps

  1. Place flour, sugar and butter in a food processor; gradually pulse until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

  2. Add egg yolk and 1tbsp of the water. Pulse until liquid is just combined. Test the dough by pressing a portion between your fingertips; if it adheres to itself it’s ready. If it’s dry, pulse in some more water a few drops at a time until dough is moist enough. I ended up using one and a half tablespoons.

  3. Form dough into a flat disc, wrap with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, grease a 24cm tart pan.

  4. Gently roll the dough out until 5mm thick, taking care not to overwork the dough. Ease the dough into the tart pan. Trim away excess pastry, then refrigerate for a further 20 minutes.

  5. Preheat oven to 355°F.

  6. Line pastry with baking paper and fill with pie weights or raw rice. Bake for 15 minutes; remove paper and weights and bake for a further 12 minutes.

  7. Allow to cool completely.

  8. In a heavy based saucepan, heat the milk with the cinnamon stick until mixture boils; remove from heat and allow to stand for at least 10 minutes to infuse.

  9. Place the egg yolks, flours, sugar and baking powder into a bowl and whisk to combine; whisk in the milk and little at a time to temper the eggs. Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove the cinnamon stick and any other lumps.

  10. Cook mixture over low heat, stirring continuously, until mixture thickens (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat; beat in butter until combined. Cover and set aside until mixture cools to room temperature.

  11. Preheat oven to 340°F

  12. Beat egg whites in grease-free bowl until it reaches soft peak stage.

  13. Gently fold into custard mixture, then pour into the pastry casing and bake for 25 minutes, or until the top is puffed, slightly golden and the center has only a slight wobble when the dish is shaken.

  14. Allow to cool to room temperature. Soon before serving, combine the cinnamon and icing sugar and dust over the top of the tart. Serve with cream and berries

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