I love trying local food while travelling, even though I am a fairly picky eater. But thanks to my travels, over the years I have discovered a lot of new favourites from many destinations around the world.

In occasion of National Milk Tart Day (27th February), I thought to share this wonderful South African milk tart recipe.

Melktert as it is referred to in Afrikaans is one of South Africa’s most popular traditional desserts. It was originally brought to the Cape by Dutch settlers but later on it was given a special twist by the local Cape Malay cuisine, infusing it with Asian spicy flavours.

As it often happens with national dishes, it seems every South African has a secret family recipe for milk tart, giving it some special little treat. Your could easily claim, there is a milk tart for every taste and every occasion.

All of them will likely follow one of two general way to prepare the custard filling: It is either baked in the crust or prepared separately and filled into the crust later. The latter version requires it to be chilled before serving whilst baking the custard in the crust means the tart can be served either warm or cold.

To give your milk tart a special twist, you can also add special flavours like amarula, chocolate, coconut, or fruits like mandarin, apples and many more.

South African Milk Tart

I found my own favourite recipe in the Franschhoek Food cookbook by Myrna Robins. The book features recipes from a number of top-notch restaurants in the Franschhoek area. The milk tart recipe below origins from La Brasserie Restaurant which I’ve never visited so far … but it’s on my list!

What you need:

60 g white sugar + 125 g white sugar for the syrup
30 g all purpose flour
15 g corn flour
a pinch of salt
600 ml milk
1 stick cinnamon
30 g softened butter
2 eggs
puff pastry
1 rooibos teabag

Heat oven to 200° C.

Mix 60 g of sugar, flour, corn flour and salt. Add 3-4 tablespoons of milk and stir until combined into a smooth paste.

Heat the remaining milk together with the cinnamon until it is at the point of boiling than add the paste in small doses while all the time string with a wooden spoon. Continue to stir until the mixture starts to thicken then remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Set aside for a few minutes to let cool, then stir in the well beaten eggs.

Place a thin layer of puff pastry in a tart tin and pour in the custard. Back for 25 – 30 minutes; it’s ready when the pastry is puffed and has taken on a golden-brownish colour and the custard has set.

To prepare the rooibos syrup, bring 125 g water to boil, then add 125 g sugar and the teabag. Bring back to boil and continue until it becomes syrupy. Remove the teabag and let cool.

At the moment of serving, drizzle the tart with the syrup. Serve the tart either warm or cold.

South African Milk Tart

Do you have a favourite milk tart recipe?