We all love a freshly baked milk tart, no matter what diet you just started, a slice never killed anybody, or did it?

The milk tart or melktert (Afrikaans), a classic dish, was traditionally described as a shortbread crust with milky filling. This delicious SA favourite dessert consists of a sweet pastry crust containing a creamy filling made from milk, flour, sugar and eggs. As much as we’d like to say it’s our’s, it originally comes from the Dutch in 1600’s.

Today, there are variations of the milk tart, some are made with peanut brittle, condensed milk, chocolate and there is also a crustless milk tart. And of course, Vegan’s can enjoy the Vegan Milk tart, free of eggs and dairy. This treat can be enjoyed by everybody.

There are the milk tart shooters that are a famous party starter, better known as ‘melktertjies’. It is quite the modern South African shooter. It smells and tastes like milk tart with a bit of kick, and can turn people who never bothered with shooters or cocktails before, into ‘melktertjie’ enthusiasts within a single sip.

Method: Whisk condensed milk and evaporated milk together and poured directly into half a bottle of vodka. Shake the bottle to blend the mixture together.Keep the bottle in the fridge or freezer until needed – the bottle will not crack. And Voila- Milk tart in a bottle.

Cape Malay Chef, and a Cape Town favourite, Fatima Sydow admits to having baked a milk tart thousands of times in the past 25 years. She shared her first encounter with a delicious milk tart with us, “The first time I tasted a piece of milk tart I was so very young, but I remember every bite. It was so light and it melted in my mouth with a tender biscuit and a smooth and lightly spicy custard  filling.”

She continued sharing her fond memories of her mom’s baking, “I was a very blessed girl, my late mom showed me how to make a milk tart, she was a real expert in all Cape Malay Cooking. We never had any cookbooks in our home related to our cuisine because my mom, herself was a walking cookbook. She taught me every recipe and tips and tricks, from baking to cooking for large amounts of guests. The milk tart was baked on a regular in our home. It’s safe to say my mom made the best Milk tart, because of the memories shared with it.”

Fatima  says she just bakes milk tarts for fun theses days, as a treat for visitors, or just as a yummy treat. When she’s not baking her own, she prefers to support home bakers than commercial bakers. She believes home bakers in the communities are a treasured group of people, that in turn preserve, promote and produce from the best cakes she’s ever tasted.
“If I don’t feel like baking it myself, I get from my cousin Zulfah Jakoet-Abrahams who bakes one of the best milk tarts in Cape Town. It just melts in your mouth. Delicious.”
Here is Fatima Sydow’s famous Milk Tart recipe.

Ingredients for the Biscuit Base
200g soft to the touch butter
1 cup of caster sugar
1 egg 2 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp baking powder 2 cups and
3 tbs of cake flour

In a bowl, with a hand whisk, cream together the soft butter and sugar for 2 minutes. Next, add the egg and vanilla essence and whisk further for a minute. Next, add the dry ingredients and using a spoon mix until the dough comes together. Use your hands next to bring the dough together and smooth. It will be soft but not sticky. Wrap with cling wrap and chill in the fridge for 30-40 minutes. Remove the dough from the fridge and take of cling wrap. Roll out on a well floured surface into a large rectangle about the same size as your pan, in this recipe I’m using a basic large oven pan that has been greased with butter. Transfer the dough to the pan, should it break, not to worry as you will now use your fingers to press the dough evenly and up the sides of the pan, ensuring there are no holes. Use your fingers to make the edges neat and straight. Place in the fridge until ready to fill with the custard filling.

Ingredients for the Filling
1 litre full cream milk
9 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
3 cardamom pods
3 cinnamon sticks
4 tsp cornflour or custard powder
fine cinnamon powder for sifting over milk tart

In a large plastic jug, pour in 900ml of the milk , the cardamon pods and cinnamon sticks. Heat in the microwave for 3 minutes. In a cup stir the remaining milk and cornflour until well mixed and no lumps. Next add the sugar and the cornflour and milk mixture to the warm milk and stir well, remove the whole spices. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs for 1 minute. Add a quarter of the warm milk and whisk for a few seconds. Next add the rest of the milk and vanilla essence and whisk well for about 30 seconds, pour the custard back in the jug. Next, take out your biscuit base in pan from the fridge and place in a preheated oven at 180°C . Take the jug with filling and gently pour into the oven pan while in the oven. Close the oven door and bake for 40-45 minutes or until you see the edges of the biscuit base turns a dark golden brown . Remove from the oven sift lightly with fine cinnamon and allow to cool completely until cold . Cut and serve

Go out and have a slice, better yet, bake one. Happy Milk Tart Day!

Pictures: Facebook



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