Mom’s Milk Tart

The approach of Heritage Day on 24 September has many of us diving for our recipe books with ambitious dreams of koeksisters, bobotie and boerewors braais dancing in our heads. If it’s a traditional, tasty treat than can be pulled together with minimal effort that you’re after then I can assure you, your search is now over.

As proudly South African as it gets, the good old Milk Tart is a firm favourite in every home, a welcome addition to the table. This particular recipe has been passed down from my mom (hi, Mom!), and although the tart looks unassuming, do not be deceived – this is hands down the BEST Milk Tart you will ever taste. Creamy, smooth and rich, the filling also lends itself to any number of variations – why not try milk tart filled pancakes, or a sponge cake sandwiched together with this silky, vanilla deliciousness in lieu of icing? Get creative!

If you do decide to give this recipe a whirl please let me know what you think- I know you’ll love it, the only question is, how much?  I’ll stop gabbing now and let you get on with it – enjoy!


2 cups cake flour

1/2 cup sugar

125g butter or baking margarine

1 egg


2 teaspoons Baking Powder

Cream butter and sugar together. Add the egg, sifted flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well to form a dough, then press into two pie dishes. Bake at 180 deg C for about 20 minutes, or until the crust is starting to turn golden. (TIP: because of the baking powder the crusts will rise, so after I have pressed the dough into the dishes I like to put some wax wrap down and put a rice or beans ‘parcel’ on top of the dough in order to weigh it down while it cooks. This is optional but gives you space for more filling.)


4 cups milk

2 1/2 tablespoons cake flour

1 cup sugar

5-10ml vanilla essence

1 tablespoon butter or baking margarine

2 1/2 tablespoons cornflour

2 eggs

Boil the milk and butter, then remove from the heat. In a separate bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients together to form a smooth paste and then add them to the boiling milk. Return to the heat and stir until thick – this will only take a few minutes. Pour the filling into the shells and then dust the tarts with cinnamon. Allow to set and cool before serving.

Remember that this is a dairy product, so if you’re not going to eat it immediately it’s a good idea to keep it in a fridge, bringing it to room temperature before serving.

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