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South African Melktert or “Milk Tart”

04/16/2015 16:01

004 Angela Day Kitchen, diabetic baking  Picture: Mujahid Safodien 03 11 2010

South African Melktert or “Milk Tart” is a traditional African dessert consisting of pastry crust filled with an sweet custard style filling. Milk Tart is an African twist of the Dutch's egg custard pie.

After the Dutch settlers came to South Africa during the 17th Century, the Cape Malays (an ethnic group or community in South Africa) adapted this Dutch recipe and recreated a South African version which was given the name Melktert. This dish is so popular that it is said that wives' reputations actually depend on their Melkterts and recipes are passed down from generation to generation. For a traditional African treat, give this recipe a try!


1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

1 egg

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 pinch salt

4 cups milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon butter

2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup white sugar

2 eggs, beaten

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

1. In a medium mixing bowl, cream together 1/2 cup butter or margarine and 1 cup sugar. Add 1 egg and beat until mixture is smooth. In a separate bowl, mix together 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir flour mixture into sugar mixture just until ingredients are thoroughly combined. Press mixture into bottom and sides of two 9-inch pie pans.

2. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.

3. In a large saucepan, combine milk, vanilla extract, and 1 tablespoon butter or margarine. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then remove from burner.

4. In a separate bowl, mix together 2 1/2 tablespoons flour, cornstarch, and 1/2 cup sugar. Add beaten eggs to sugar mixture and whisk until smooth. Slowly whisk mixture into milk. Return pan to heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 5 minutes. Pour half of mixture into each pastry shell. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Chill before serving.