Milktart Recipe

Milktart Recipe. Image credit: Irene Muller

How to make the perfect South African Milk Tart

Milk tart is a wonderfully indulgent classic that doesn’t require too much effort to make. Try this recipe with homemade pastry.

Milktart Recipe

Milktart Recipe. Image credit: Irene Muller

Milk tart, or melktert as it is known in Afrikaans, is a traditional South African open topped pie filled with creamy, vanilla-infused custard and topped with cinnamon.

There are dozens of versions of the tea-time favourite recipe and this recipe, originally published on SAPromo, was passed on by a woman who had won prizes for it.

The classic milk tart calls for a pre-baked pastry shell but this one is far simpler as you do not need to “bake blind”.

This recipe’s secret is using almond instead of vanilla essence to add an extra flavour.

Milk Tart (Melktert) Recipe

4 from 10 votes
Recipe by Irene Muller Course: DessertCuisine: South AfricanDifficulty: Easy
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Cooking time


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Who can resist a delicious slice of traditional South African Melktert (Milk Tart)? Certainly not us.


  • Crust
  • 2 cups 2 flour

  • 250 g 250 butter (must not be soft)

  • 1 1 egg, well beaten

  • 1 tablespoon 1 sugar

  • 2 tablespoon 2 water

  • 2 teaspoon 2 baking powder

  • Filling
  • 1 tablespoon 1 butter

  • 1 pinch 1 salt

  • 1 liter 1 milk

  • 1 cup 1 flour

  • 1 cup 1 sugar

  • 3 3 eggs, beaten together

  • 1 teaspoon 1 vanilla or almond essence

  • cinnamon sugar or roasted coconut


  • Crust
  • Preheat the oven to  200ºC
  • Slice the butter in thin slices.
  • Add the sugar, ice water and eggs to the butter.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder over the mixture and very gently mix the mixture by working it with your finger tips.
  • Place the dough in the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Roll the dough out about 4.5mm thick and place in ovenproof dish that will take 1 litre of filling, or place it in two smaller ovenproof tart dishes. Make sure it is evenly spread if you do not want to roll out the dough. Press it firmly and evenly in the dish evenly, then prick with a fork to ensure it will cook right through.
  • Filling
  • Rub the butter, salt, sugar and flour together with your finger tips until crumbed.
  • Place the milk in a saucepan and bring the milk to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Very slowly add the crumbs to the hot milk, little by little, stirring with a egg whisk. Be careful not to burn the milk or to work too quickly as it can form lumps.
  • Remove from the heat. Add a little of the hot milk mixture to the 3 beaten eggs to warm it up, mix, then add the beaten eggs to the warm milk custard and mix well.
  • When cooled and add 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond essence. Mix well again.
  • Place the mixture in the prepared dish and bake for 10 minutes.
  • When cooled, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar or coconut.

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