Dating back to the 1600’s and of Dutch origin, South Africans have claimed the milk tart as our own and it has become an huge part of our heritage.
The milk tart has come a long way moving from the traditional shortbread crust with milky filling to various other forms, including alcohol a la milk tart shots, and even flavours added to the milky taste.
For me, nothing beats a good old old fashion home-made milk tart topped with cinnamon.
Everyone has that one person in the family or community whose milk tart they feel is the best, in my case it’s my next door neighbour.
For local Chef Craig Cormac from SALT at Paul Cluver Restaurant in Grabouw, Cape Town, it’s his late mother.
Cormac says: "Mom was a great inspiration to me with her creativity and amazing cooking abilities. She unfortunately passed away middle November last year."
The chef says his fondest memories of his favourite milk tart takes him back to his childhood.
“My mom always made a milk tart without the pastry, crustless milk tart, which was our favourite, this went back to my early school days,” he says.
Cormac admits his first attempt at making milk tart was not as good as his mother’s.
“That’s the thing about a great recipe the person who makes it, is always king,” he says “I think Afrikaners and Muslim’s seem to be the ones with the closest relationship to the milk tart, in that situation it's definitely a love affair that is an import part of their heritage.”
Asked about his preference, Cormac says: “The thing for me is that there are many versions of milk tart, most okay, but the one with that amazing light crust and perfect texture of a filling is for me so good.
“I personally am very picky as to the perfect milk tart, when its good its amazing.”
Celebrate the day by trying these recipes, from the traditional milk tart to tarts with a more daring twist.
Cormac shares his mother's milk tart recipe.
4 cups milk
2 tbl spoon butter
1 cup of flour
1 tspn vanilla essence
1 tspn baking powder
1 cup sugar
Separate egg yellow, from the white.
Beat egg whites until stiff. Melt butter and mix well with sugar.
Then add egg yolks. Stir in flour salt and baking powder, then add milk and essence, cup for cup not all at once, lastly the egg white and beat in well. bake at 180 c for 30 -35 mins