There are some dishes that trigger your childhood and take you right back to family gatherings, an overflowing Sunday lunch table, and smiles all around. The reason for the smiles could very well have been from dessert – milk tart or trifle is etched in my memory. Good ol’ melktert; the Afrikaans name for ‘milk tart’; the classic, a quintessential South African dessert consisting of a sweet pastry crust, filled with a mild, creamy custard of milk, flour, sugar, and eggs, baked in a round pie tin and dusted with cinnamon after baking.
Milk tart is omnipresent in South Africa; it appears at every church bazaar, bake sale, home industry, supermarket, or bakery, and has surely featured on every South African food blogger’s blog. And let’s not forget that time when Jamie Oliver made SA’s milk tart famous on Instagram.
Melktert is a dessert that was first made by Dutch settlers in the Cape in the early 1600s. The origins of milk tart are credited to a detailed recipe listed in Thomas van der Noot’s book, “Een Notabel Boexcken van Cokeryen” (A Notable Book of Cookery) and it is believed that milk tart was developed from the same recipe.
A few standard considerations that have stood the test of time: