February 27 is National Milk Tart Day. Picture: Instagram (nationalmilktartday)

Tomorrow we celebrate the sweetest day on the South African calendar, National Milk Tart Day. 

Nothing beats a good old homemade milk tart but, there’s nothing wrong in cheating with a store bought tart to commemorate the day. 
National Milk Tart Day is now in its fifth year and has become increasingly popular.
Best described as a shortbread with a milky filling, the origin of this classic dish is said to come from the dutch in the 1600’s. 
However, it has become a huge part of South Africa’s heritage. 
Here’s how you can make your own milk tart and ahead of omorrow’s celebrations. 

Traditional Milk Tart 

For the biscuit base: 

200 grams of soft to the touch butter
1 cup of caster sugar
1 egg
2 tsp of vanilla essence
1 tsp of baking powder 
2 cups & 3 tablespoons of cake flour

In a bowl, with a hand whisk, cream together the soft butter and sugar for 2 minutes. 
Add the egg and vanilla essence and whisk further for a minute. 
Add the dry ingredients and using a spoon, mix until the dough comes together. 
Use your hands next to bring the dough together and smooth. It will be soft but not sticky. Wrap with cling wrap and chill in the fridge for 30-40 minutes. 
Remove the dough from the fridge and take off cling wrap. 
Roll out on a well floured surface into a large rectangle about the same size as your pan, in this recipe I'm using a basic large oven pan that has been greased with butter. 
Transfer the dough to the pan, should it break, not to worry as you will now use your fingers to press the dough evenly and up the sides of the pan, ensuring there are no holes.
Use your fingers to make the edges neat and straight. 
Place in the fridge until ready to fill with the custard filling.


1 litre of full cream milk 
9 eggs
1 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
3 cardamom pods
3 cinnamon sticks
4 teaspoons of cornflour or custard powder
Fine cinnamon powder for sifting over milk tart .

In a large plastic jug, pour in 900ml of the milk, the cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks. Heat in the microwave for 3 minutes. In a cup stir the remaining milk and cornflour until well mixed and no lumps. 
Add the sugar and the cornflour and milk mixture to the warm milk and stir well, remove the whole spices.
In a separate bowl whisk the eggs for 1 minute. 
Add a quarter of the warm milk and whisk for a few seconds. 
Add the rest of the milk and vanilla essence and whisk well for about 30 seconds, pour the custard back in the jug. Next take out your biscuit base in pan from the fridge and place in a preheated oven at 180°C.
Take the jug with filling and gently pour into the oven pan while in the oven. 
bake for 40-45 minutes or until you see the edges of the biscuit base turns a dark golden brown. 
Remove from the oven sift lightly with fine cinnamon and allow to cool. Cut and serve