Melktert: A South African’s favourite dessert

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Melktert is a spiced creamy custard pie that is a classic South African dessert. This yummy milk tart is a go-to dessert for any celebration.


No birthday, no celebration, no gathering is complete without finishing it off with a Melktert in South Africa. The Melktert is a traditional South African milk tart, that has a sweet flaky crust and is filled with a delicious milky custard-like filling topped with cinnamon powder.

The Dutch dairy farmers who settled in South Africa centuries ago around the Cape of Good Hope turned this custard pie dessert into a South African favourite. The cinnamon flavour was added by the Cape Malays and that’s how we got this delicious Melktert. This delicious Afrikaner dessert is always sought after and luckily for us, this easy milk tart recipe is not difficult to make. Let us delay no further….

What Ingredients Do You need to make Melkterts?

For the crust, you need butter, caster sugar, oil, egg, plain flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt. For the filling, you need some milk, plain flour, cornflour, eggs, vanilla essence, sugar, and butter. For the Dusting, all you need is cinnamon powder.

How to Make This Melktert Recipe?

We start with making the crust.

This is a really straightforward dough which you press out directly into the oven-proof tray. No need to mess around with a rolling pin.

First, add the butter and sugar together and mix until light and fluffy.

Remove butter in a bowl.
Butter
Add sugar to butter in a bowl.
Mix butter with sugar
Mix butter and sugar together with a blender.
Butter and sugar getting light and fluffy

Add the other ingredients – namely oil, egg, plain flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix well. This should create a nice dough that you press out into the greased oven-proof dish. 

Fluffy creamed yolk mixture.
Creamed egg in the butter and sugar
Add teaspoons of oil to the butter and sugar mixture.
Add oil to the egg mixture
Sieve flour in a bowl.
Sift the flour
Mix the other ingredients for the crust.
Mix the other ingredients for the crust
Knead the dough for the crust
Dough for crust

Some people like the crust thin, so if that is you, use half the dough and freeze the other half for the next melktert. One of my mom’s tricks is to start by adding the dough to the sides of the baking tray.

Grease the tray with butter.
Grease the tray
Place the kneaded dough to the sides of the tray.
Trick – We start by adding dough to the sides

Place the dish with the pressed-out dough in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius or 360 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes or until the crust turns a light brown.

Bake the dough till it becomes crusty.
Crusty dough is cooked

We can move onto the filling, whilst the crust is baking and cooling off. 

Melktert Filling isn’t Too Complicated!

This is best done with 3 bowls and a saucepan for the milk.  Place the milk in the saucepan, leaving about 100ml aside, and heat it till it starts to boil.

While that’s happening, in one of the bowls add the cornflour and flour. Add the leftover milk to the flour mixture and mix well.

Add tablespoon of corn flour in a bowl.
Add corn flour to a bowl
Add the remaining milk to the cornflour in a bowl.
Add the remaining milk to the cornflour

In the other two bowls, separate the egg whites from the yolk.

.
In a bowl, separate egg yolk and egg white.
Separate the yolks from the egg whites

Beat the egg yolks well before adding the sugar, vanilla essence, and butter.  Mix well and then add the flour mixture.  

Whisk the egg yolks with a blender.
Whisk the egg yolks
Add Madagascar vanilla to the egg yolks and mix together.
We add Madagascar vanilla to the egg yolks
Add butter and sugar to the egg yolk in a bowl.
Add butter to the yolk and sugar
Blend egg yolk and milk together.
Adding yolk to the milk mixture

In the other bowl, whisk the egg whites until it creates fluffy peaks when you lift out the whisk.

Whisk egg white with a blender until it gets fluffy.
Beating the egg whites

Do not forget to keep an eye on the milk in your saucepan. Just as it starts to boil add a little of this milk to the egg yolk mixture, mix well and then add it back into the milk.  Keep stirring continuously to ensure it doesn’t burn at the bottom.

Add the yolk sugar mixture to the boiling milk and mix together.
Add the yolk sugar mixture to the boiling milk

After a few minutes the mixture should thicken up and if it’s still too runny mix a bit more cornflour with some milk adding it into the saucepan with the mixture until it has the right consistency.

Cook the egg yolk and milk mixture till it gets dense.
Cooked egg yolks and milk

Slowly add this mixture to the beaten egg whites and fold together well until you have a smooth filling.

A smooth creamy mixture for the Melktert
A smooth creamy mixture for the Melktert

Pour the filling into the cooled crust and finish off with a generous sprinkling of cinnamon powder. And your lekker maklike melktert is gereed! That means the delicious and easy South African milk tart is ready!

Add the creamy mixture to the tray with crust on the sides.
Flatten the mix with a spoon
Sprinkle cinnamon powder on the tray.
Sprinkle with cinnamon

Cooking Tips And Tricks

  • If you prefer a thin crust, use half the dough and freeze half for the next time you make Melktert.
  • For the crust, start by adding the dough to the sides of the tray first and then fill in the rest.
  • No need for a rolling pin to roll the dough, you can do this by hand.
  • You can make the crust ahead of time and make the custard filling on the day you need it.
  • If the egg yolk mixture is too runny, add more cornflour mixed with a little milk to get the right consistency.
  • Keep stirring the milk mixture on the flame to enusre it does not stick.
  • Tastes great after a dinner of bobotie or ox-tail potjiekos.

FAQ’s About Melktert

What is Melktert?

Melktert is a South African Milk tart, which is a spiced milky custard pie dessert topped with cinnamon powder.

Can you freeze Melktert?

Freezing is not recommended as the custard may change texture once thawed.

How do you serve Melktert?

Melktert is usually served chilled or at room temperature. It is cut into pie-shaped triangular slices.

Is This Melktert Resep The Same As Melktertjies Recipe?

No, although they taste similar, it’s not the same. Melktertjies is a South African liqueur or drink that also includes vodka and is had as an aperitif or after-dinner drink. I will post the Melktertjies Recipe soon!

how long does milk tart last in the fridge?

Melktert can be made in advance and kept covered in the fridge for up to 2 days. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.

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Sprinkle cinnamon powder on the tray.

Melktert: A South African’s Favourite Dessert

The Soz
Melktert is a spiced creamy custard pie that is popular in South Africa. This classic South African dessert is a must have for family celebrations and other events.
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Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Dessert, Snacks
Cuisine South African
Servings 8 Servings

Ingredients
  

For the Melktert Crust

  • 115 grams Butter
  • 2 Tablespoon Caster Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon Oil
  • 1 Egg
  • 500 grams Plain Flour
  • 2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • .125 gram Salt

For the Melktert Filling

  • 2 Pints Milk
  • 30 grams Plain Flour
  • 45 grams Cornflour
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
  • 250 grams Sugar
  • 15 grams Butter

For Dusting On The Melktert

  • 2 Tablespoon Cinnamon Powder (Dalchini)

Instructions
 

For the Melktert Crust

  • Mix the butter with caster sugar until it is white and fluffy. 
  • Then add oil, egg, flour, baking powder and salt and mix well to create a smooth dough.
  • Press this dough into a greased 30 cm round, square or rectangular oven proof dish. 
  • Make sure to cover the sides of the dish as well with the dough.
  • Place in a preheated oven at 180 C or 360F and bake for 10 minutes until the dough turns light brown.

For the Melktert Filling

  • Place the milk into a big saucepan, leaving about 100ml aside. Heat the milk till it starts to boil and remove from the heat.
  • Whilst you wait for the milk to boil, mix the flour and cornflour with the remaining milk.
  • Separate the egg whites from the yolks.  Whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
  • Mix the sugar, butter and vanilla essence with the egg yolks. Take some of the near boiling milk, add it to the mixture and mix well. 
  • Add this warm mixture to the milk in the saucepan and return to a low heat until cooked and thick.  Stir continuously as the mixture will burn easily.
  • Slowly add the milk mixture to the whisked egg whites and fold it in until you have a smooth mixture.  
  • Pour into the crust that was prepared earlier and sprinkle over some powdered cinnamon on top.
  • Store the melktert in the fridge and consume within a week.

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Notes

  • If you prefer a thin crust, use half the dough and freeze half for the next time you make Melktert.
  • For the crust, start by adding the dough to the sides of the tray first and then fill in the rest.
  • You can roll the dough by hand, no need for a rolling pin. 
  • If the egg yolk mixture is too runny, add more cornflour mixed with a little milk to get the right consistency.
  • Keep stirring the milk mixture on the flame to ensure it does not stick to the bottom of the saucepan and burn.
Pinterest image of cinnamon sprinkle on South African Milk Pie Dessert.
Pinterest images of Creamy mixture and crusty Milk tart ready.
Pinterest images of egg and milk mixture, butter, sugar mixture and crusty ready Melktert.

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