milk tart

Milk tart: Yes please! Image: Carla Zinkfontein.

Milk tart – Creamy indulgence that is always welcome

This firm favourite just gets better every time you enjoy it.

milk tart

Milk tart: Yes please! Image: Carla Zinkfontein.

If ever in doubt about which dessert to serve to your guests, you cannot go wrong with a traditional South African milk tart. This creamy dessert is a firm favourite in South Africa no matter how many times you have enjoyed it in the past. It seems to just get better every time you have the opportunity to indulge in it.

Milk tart is basically a creamy, milky custard poured into a baked pastry crust. To add more taste, sprinkle it with cinnamon before serving. The aromatic flavour of cinnamon gives this dessert that extra splash of delight.

There are a number of ways you can prepare a creamy milk tart but the basic recipe remains the same. It is common to have it as a big dessert sliced into pieces. However, you can also prepare dainty little milk tartlets which will look very pretty on a platter.

Whichever way you decide to prepare your milk tart, one thing is clear, it will be utterly enjoyed and appreciated by everyone lucky to get a bite.

Milk tart recipe

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Recipe by Carla Zinkfontein Course: DessertCuisine: South AfricanDifficulty: Easy
Prep time


Cooking time


Total time




  • Crust
  • 1 1⁄2 cups 1 1⁄2 all-purpose flour

  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons 1 1⁄2 baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon 1 fine salt

  • 1⁄3 cup 1⁄3 castor or superfine sugar

  • 80 g 80 butter, softened

  • 1 small 1 egg

  • Filling
  • 2 cups 2 milk

  • 1 1 cinnamon stick

  • 60 ml 60 white sugar, depending on personal taste

  • 2 2 eggs

  • 3 tablespoons 3 cornflour

  • 3 tablespoons 3 flour

  • ½ teaspoon ½ vanilla essence

  • 2 tablespoons 2 butter


  • Crust
  • Measure the flour, baking powder and salt in a jug and whisk until combined.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together with a beater attachment until pale and fluffy (about 3 minutes).
  • Add the egg and beat until thoroughly incorporated. By hand add in the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  • Press the dough into a 25 cm tart plate with a removable base. Make sure that it isn’t too thick and dock with a fork. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200°C and when ready bake the base for 15 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
  • Filling
  • Heat the milk with the cinnamon stick to just under boiling point.
  • Lightly beat the eggs with the sugar, and then add the cornflour and flour.
  • Pour the hot milk into this mixture, stirring rapidly.
  • Return the mixture to the heat and cook, stirring until the mixture becomes thick.
  • Keep stirring while it is cooking to prevent it from catching on the bottom of the pot and getting lumpy.
  • Take the mixture off the heat and add the vanilla essence and butter.
  • Stir well until the butter is melted.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared tart crust.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar


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