South Africa – Melktert – Recipe (Traditional)


Enjoy your award-winning, authentic Melktert, a creamy and delicious South African dessert that’s perfect for any occasion!


Melktert, also known as Milk Tart, is a classic South African dessert that combines creamy custard filling with a crisp pastry crust. This beloved sweet treat is enjoyed across South Africa and holds a special place in the country’s culinary heritage.

Key Elements:

  • Pastry Crust:
    • The crust of Melktert is typically made from a simple mixture of flour, butter, sugar, and sometimes a pinch of salt. This pastry is rolled out thinly and baked until golden and crisp.
  • Custard Filling:
    • The filling is the heart of Melktert, consisting of a smooth and creamy custard made from milk, sugar, eggs, flour (or cornstarch), and vanilla extract. The custard is cooked gently until thickened and then poured into the baked pastry shell.
  • Cinnamon Topping:
    • A dusting of ground cinnamon on top is a traditional finishing touch for Melktert, adding a warm and aromatic flavor that complements the creamy custard.


  1. Making the Pastry:
    • The pastry dough is prepared by mixing flour, butter, sugar, and salt until crumbly. Cold water is added gradually to bring the dough together. It is then rolled out and placed into a tart or pie dish, baked until golden brown, and allowed to cool.
  2. Preparing the Custard:
    • For the custard filling, milk is heated gently with sugar and vanilla extract until just below boiling point. In a separate bowl, eggs and flour (or cornstarch) are whisked together until smooth.
    • A small amount of the hot milk mixture is gradually added to the egg mixture, whisking continuously (tempering) to prevent the eggs from curdling. This tempered mixture is then added back into the remaining hot milk and cooked over low heat until thickened into a smooth custard.
  3. Assembling and Chilling:
    • Once thickened, the custard is poured into the cooled pastry shell. It is smoothed out evenly and left to cool slightly before being dusted generously with ground cinnamon.
    • Melktert is traditionally served chilled, allowing the custard to set and the flavors to meld together.

Culinary Experience:

  • Creamy and Comforting: Melktert offers a creamy, velvety texture that melts in your mouth with each bite, balanced by the crispness of the pastry crust.
  • Aromatic Delight: The hint of cinnamon on top adds a warm and comforting aroma, enhancing the overall sensory experience of this traditional dessert.

Cultural Significance:

  • Celebratory Dessert: Melktert is often served on special occasions such as birthdays, holidays, and family gatherings, symbolizing comfort, tradition, and celebration.
  • Culinary Heritage: It reflects the Dutch and Cape Malay influences in South African cuisine, showcasing how different cultures have contributed to the country’s culinary tapestry.

Melktert is not just a dessert; it is a taste of South African tradition and heritage, loved for its creamy texture, delicate sweetness, and the warmth it brings to any gathering or meal. Whether enjoyed with a cup of tea or as a sweet ending to a meal, Melktert remains a cherished part of South African culinary culture.


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