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South African Milk Tart Recipe: a creamy delight with condensed milk

By June 21, 2024FinGlobal

South African Milk Tart Recipe: a creamy delight with condensed milk

June 21, 2024


The traditional South African milk tart recipe, known locally as “Melktert,” is a beloved dessert that carries a rich heritage and a universally cherished taste. With its creamy custard filling and cinnamon-dusted crust, this delectable treat is a staple in South African homes and a must-try for anyone with a sweet tooth. In this blog post, we’ll explore the history of this iconic dessert, delve into a traditional South African milk tart recipe with condensed milk, and share tips to perfect your milk tart making skills.

What is a Milk Tart?

Before we dive into the specifics of making a traditional South African milk tart, let’s take a moment to understand what exactly this dessert is. Milk tart is an Afrikaner dish that originated in the Netherlands and was brought to South Africa by Dutch settlers in the 17th century. It consists of a sweet pastry crust filled with creamy custard made from milk, sugar, flour, and eggs. The filling is then dusted with cinnamon and baked until it sets into a smooth and velvety texture.

Over time, the recipe evolved and adapted to local ingredients and tastes, incorporating elements from African, Malay, and Indian cuisine. Today, milk tart is considered a staple dessert in South Africa and is often enjoyed at special occasions such as holidays, birthdays, and weddings.

South African milk tart recipe with condensed milk


For the crust:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cold water

For the filling:

  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (for dusting)


Step 1: Prepare the Crust

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • In a bowl, cream together the softened butter, flour, and sugar until a crumbly mixture forms.
  • Add the egg and water, mixing thoroughly.
  • Press the dough evenly into the base and up the sides of a 9-inch pie dish.
  • Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes until it turns golden brown. Allow it to cool entirely.

Step 2: Make the Filling

  • In a large saucepan, heat the milk and condensed milk over medium heat until nearly boiling.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, flour, and egg yolks until smooth.
  • Gradually add a few spoonfuls of the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture, whisking continuously to temper the eggs.
  • Slowly add the egg mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens.
  • Take off the heat and mix in the vanilla extract.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then gently fold them into the custard mixture.

Step 3: Assemble and Chill

  • Pour the custard filling into the cooled pie crust.
  • Smooth the top with a spatula and sprinkle with ground cinnamon.
  • Refrigerate the milk tart for at least 2 hours, or until set.
  • Tips for the Perfect South African Milk Tart
  • Use fresh milk, high-quality eggs, and real vanilla extract for better flavor and texture.
  • Gradually add hot milk to the eggs to prevent curdling and create a smooth custard.
  • Chill the tart in the refrigerator for a few hours to achieve the right consistency before serving.

Variations on the traditional Milk Tart recipe

The classic milk tart is delicious on its own, there are plenty of ways to customize it to your taste. Here are a few ideas:

  • Spiced Milk Tart: Add a pinch of nutmeg and cardamom to the custard filling for a warm, aromatic twist.
  • Coconut Milk Tart: Substitute half of the milk with coconut milk for a tropical flavor.
  • Chocolate Milk Tart: Mix in some melted dark chocolate into the filling for a decadent chocolate version.

A flavor of tradition: South African Milk Tart recipe

The traditional South African milk tart is a versatile and delightful dessert that’s sure to impress. Whether you’re enjoying it with family or sharing it at a special occasion, this creamy, cinnamon-dusted treat is a taste of South African heritage that’s both comforting and indulgent.

Expert Advice for SA Expats at FinGlobal

Just like a great recipe requires a well-crafted and tested method, at FinGlobal, we focus on finding effective solutions for our clients. We have dedicated significant time and effort to mastering the intricacies of financial emigration. Our extensive experience has enabled us to offer a range of financial emigration services that ensure a smooth, hassle-free transition from South Africa to another country.

Whether you need assistance with taxes, South African retirement annuity withdrawals, pensions, FOREX, or the overall financial emigration process, we can guide you to the best course of action. Recognizing that every situation is unique, we strongly recommend consulting with our team to discuss your specific circumstances and requirements. With over a decade of experience, you can trust that any consultant you work with will be attentive to your needs and well-versed in the latest financial emigration laws and regulations.

Contact us today at +27 28 313 5600 or email us at for prompt assistance.

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