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Melktert must surely rate alongside Koeksusters as the South African standard in sweet pastry. In the face of possilbly offending someone, 'milk tart' (the direct translation) could be described as a type of custard flan. Of course, this stuff is better. But you knew that. An issue of contention is the addition of almond essence to the filling. The recipes below from 1923 suggest that this was clearly the thing to do.

Ingredients description

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Pastry (flaky or short)
  • Sugar
  • Drop of almond essence
  • Some cinnamon
  • Coarse brown sugar


Simple Melktert

This is the simple version that every good South African schoolgirl learns in a subject called "Huishoudkunde" (i.e. "Home Economics")
  • Line a flan dish with puff or flaky pastry, trim the edges. The type of pastry is not important, because the important bit is the filling:
  • Beat two eggs
  • Slowly add 3 cups boiled milk and then 1½ tablespoons sugar and three drops almond essence
  • Pour into the lined flan dish
  • With a pastry brush dipped into the mixture, brush the edges of the pastry
  • Bake in a hot oven (200°C, 10 minutes)
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon after cooking

Boere Melktert  (better!)

This one is referred to as 'Farmer's milk tart' allthough the origin of this name is as contrived as that of Boerewors (Farmer's sausage). A few more steps are required in this process and you should end up with a completely different result:
  • Line two flan dishes with puff or flaky pastry.
  • Beat yolks of 4 eggs (save the egg whites!)
  • Mix 2 large tablespoons flour with a little cold milk until it is smooth and free of lumps
  • Bring (800ml) 1½ pints of milk to the boil
  • Add 2 ½ tablespoons sugar to the boiling milk
  • Add yolks to mixed flour and slowly stir into the milk
  • Beat egg whites very stiffly
  • Remove from heat and fold the whites evenly in
  • Add 8 drops of almond essence (optional and contentious)
  • Fill pastry cases with the mixture
  • Sprinkle cinnamon and course brown sugar over the top
  • Bake in hot oven (200°C, 10 minutes)


Reference: The Practical Cookery Book for South Africa by S. van H. Tulleken, Twenty Second Edition Published 1946. First Published 1923