Milk tart is such a favourite and delicious dish that we, in South Africa, devote an entire day every year, 27 February, to celebrate this delectably dulcet dessert.
When one ponders this sweet treat, it invariably conjures up memories of standing in front of Gran’s oven, bouncing up and down in anticipation. That first taste of a still warm slice of magnificent milk tart with a silky soft light brown top (with no cinnamon sprinkled on it for my gran!), takes away all the troubles a 5-year-old boy faces, such as how to stop your brother from making that 100 in weekly back yard cricket match at the grandparents.
So few treats can beat the flaky puff pastry crust as only my gran could make – with real butter from the farm. How well I remember the preparation of the pastry! Always done at or before the crack of dawn the day before the milk tarts were to be baked. Layer upon layer of pastry rolled out on a marble slab and each layer covered with grated butter. Then folded gently and wrapped in cool damp muslin cloth to go back into the fridge. This process was repeated, what seemed to me, endlessly. When the baking day arrived, so did the rivalry for the ‘saucepan-licking’. Yip, after Gran had rolled the pastry for a last time and scooped some filling into it, the saucepan was up for grabs. My brother and I, each armed with a spoon (the bigger, the better, of course) made a mad dash for the saucepan to scrape out the left-overs. Gran, being a kind and loving soul usually left quite a bit for us. Truth be told, I am sure she made some extra - especially for us. Till this day, a milk tart has a life expectancy of 12 hours in the house.
Milk tart has its origins with the Dutch settlers as it very similar to the “Mattentart”. Somewhere along the line we, as South Africans do, decided to do things our way by sprinkling cinnamon on the tart.
We would like to share 5 recipes that you can make at home on the 27th of February to celebrate this dish at home.
For the crust, simply pour the melted butter over the nut flour and sugar mix. Press down into a, buttered plate-sized oven dish. Alternatively, I would suggest you make 4 ramekins or 6 – 8 cupcake moulds. Press down your crust mix at the bottom only of your baking dish/ dishes.
For the filling: Heat cream, salt and xylitol/stevia combo on medium heat.
Give the egg yolks a quick whisk and stir into the cream. Stirring constantly. As soon as the mix starts to thicken, stir in the butter and vanilla and remove from heat.
Whisk the egg whites and psyllium for about 30 seconds till foamy, almost doubled in volume. Fold into the custard mixture and pour over the crust.
Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 180 degrees C for 20 – 30 minutes or until milk tart looks puffy and set.
Milk Tart Shooters aka Melktertjies (Recipe from Jan Loubscher via Drinksfeed.com)
one 375 ml bottle vodka
one 395 gram (300ml) tin of condensed milk
half of a 375 ml tin evaporated milk
Mix well, using a food processer or whisk, and bottle, or simply pour the ingredients into a 1-litle bottle and shake well.
Keep in the fridge. Shake well before pouring into shooter or shot glasses.
Sprinkle each “melktertjie” with ground cinnamon and serve chilled.
1 vanilla pod – cut open, use inside for filling. Throw pod in milk mixture, while heating.
Slowly bring condense milk, water and butter to the boil while stirring. You can also do it in the microwave oven for 8 minutes on 100%power.
Mix the following – make sure there are no lumps.
4 egg yolks
125ml corn flour
a little water for mixing
1 x 400 g packet spring roll wrappers
1 egg white ( to use as glue)
oil for deep frying
When milk mixture is almost boiling, first add a little of the hot milk to the egg mixture and then stir while adding all the egg mixture to the rest of the milk mixture on the stove.
In the microwave – mix egg mixture with milk mixture and microwave for 4 minutes on 100% power, stirring every minute.
Beat egg whites to white peak stage and gently fold into custard. Allow the mixture to cool.
To make the spring rolls
Simply place a wrapper on a flat surface and with a pastry brush, brush all 4 sides with egg white. Place some (a heaped teaspoon) milk tart mixture on the wrapper at the end nearest to you. fold in the sides and roll up like a cigar. Constantly wet your finger with the egg white and make sure there are no leaking holes for the custard to run out whilst frying.
Heat your oil to very hot and fry the spring rolls, 5 at a time until golden brown, remove from the oil and immediately roll in cinnamon sugar.
* Very Important – make sure your oil is very hot, it must just quickly brown the pastry, once the filling on the inside starts to cook, the spring rolls will burst open and it will be a mess.
Milk tart Milkshake (The Bachelor’s Way)
1 store bought milk tart
4 scoops of vanilla ice cream
Blend the store bought milk tart (the ones from a farm stall, a proper bakery or a church bazaar, which aren’t mass produced are the best) together with the cream and the ice cream. Decorate with whipped cream and cinnamon.
Some of our traders will have milk tart inspired food at the market this Sunday (28 February 2016). The people of Catje’s pancakes introduced a pancake with a milk tart filling two weeks ago. It is quickly becoming a “must eat” at the market. Sweet Cillie’s Cakery will have some milk tarts on their table this week. Our artisan ice cream producer, Cold Gold, made a milk tart ice cream in order to celebrate this day. However, the demand for it was so big that all of it was sold out but do not despair as the milk tart’s twisted little cousin, the koeksister ice cream will be there to represent the family of traditional South African cuisine.