This South African Dessert is Perfect for Your Next Tea Party

Milk tart
Image by bhofack2/Depositphotos

When the Dutch landed at the tip of Africa in the 17th century, they brought with them recipes that became forever ingrained in South African cuisine. Amongst them was milk tart which is a fan favorite at every local tea party. Milk tart—or melktert, as it is known in Dutch and Afrikaans—is reminiscent of a Portuguese custard tart, but with a sweet, cinnamon twist. Here’s how to make it.


For the crust
• 125 grams butter, softened
• ½ cup of castor sugar
• 1 egg
• 2 cups of cake flour
• 1 teaspoon of baking powder

For the filling
• 2 ½ cups of milk
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 1 egg
• ½ cup of sugar
• 2 tablespoons of flour
• 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
• 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste
• 1 tablespoon of butter
• 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
• A pinch of salt


  1. Cream the softened butter and castor sugar together before adding the egg and beating well to combine.
  2. Add in the cake flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix thoroughly to form a stiff dough.
  3. Press the dough evenly into a tart tin and prick holes using a fork.
  4. Blind bake the pastry at 350 F for 30 minutes or until golden and crispy.
  5. Place the milk and cinnamon stick into a pot and bring to a boil.
  6. Remove the cinnamon stick, and in a bowl whisk together the eggs, flour, sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla.
  7. Pour the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Then return the milk mixture to the pot and cook on medium heat until thickened. Stir through a spoonful of butter.
  8. Pour the milk mixture into the baked pastry shell and sprinkle over the ground cinnamon. Let the tart cool completely before serving.