Melktert: The Way to My Father-in-Law’s Heart

Melktert: The Way to My Father-in-Law’s Heart

Melktert, or milk tart, is a custardy treat you’ll find all over South Africa. I fell in love with this little dessert on my first trip there in 2007, and (obviously) not being able to find it in the States, decided to learn to make it myself.

This is a super simple recipe, especially if you cheat (like I do) and use pre-made shortbread crusts.

Here’s what you’ll need:
4 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp butter
2 ½ Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 ½ Tbsp cornstarch
½ cup white sugar
2 eggs
A sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar
2 pre-made shortbread crusts


1. In a large saucepan, combine the milk, vanilla and butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat. You’ll want happy little bubbles at the top, not a rolling boil. Stir occasionally to keep the milk from burning.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch and sugar.
3. Next, beat the eggs. Then add the flour, cornstarch and sugar combination to the eggs, and whisk together until nice, smooth, and a little bubbly.
4. Once the milk comes to a boil, turn down the heat and pour in the egg mixture. As you stir, the entire mix will thicken. Return the pan to the heat and bring to a boil.
5. After the mixture has thickened, it’s time to pour it into your pie crusts.
6. Sprinkle the top with sugar and cinnamon, then place the tarts into your fridge to chill. They will need to set for at least 1 to 2 hours.
A few hours later, voila! Impress your friends and family with your beautiful, tasty South African melkterts. I’ve served this to my father-in-law several times, and he has given it his official stamp of approval.
One last thing. Don’t be afraid to play with your food! Mixture not thick enough? Try adding another egg! Too thick? Add a bit more milk! Too sweet? Less sugar! If you’re feeling extra crafty, try making your own crust.


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