The great thing about living in South Africa is definitely the eclectic mix of cultures. Truly the rainbow nation it has become renowned for, it hosts and embraces many cultures and religions from a diverse set of backgrounds. With that, of course, it means we boast a wide variety of foods for everyone’s taste palette and food can become quite an indulgence! From traditional Indian dishes and sweetmeats, Asian sushi and stir-fry, Italian Pasta’s and breads and the vibrant Cape Malay style cooking…eating is an experience on it’s own.
Perhaps one of the most well known South African recipes has got to be the Milktart! Adapted by the Afrikaner boer from the Dutch during the Cape Colonisation years, it is a deliciously smooth and creamy, slightly milkier (with a hint of spice) adaptation of the classic custard tart.
Over the years I have come across numerous versions of this recipe. Some hot. Some cold. Some baked. Some not….but always alluring and beckoning. Purely addictive! My personal favourite is the cool seduction of the refrigerated Milktart. This is my recipe, tweaked and fine tuned from a recipe I found years ago!
For the base: Traditionally, Milktart has a Shortcrust base. Since I am a mom who is always looking for shortcuts, I decided to replace the Shortcrust base with a crushed Marie biscuit base.
3/4 packet of Marie biscuits (crushed)
60grams melted butter
Ingredients for filling
4 1/2 cups full cream milk ( I substitute 1 cup of milk with fresh cream)
1 tin condensed milk
5ml vanilla essence (the fresh vanilla pod seeds are even yummier)
3 extra large or jumbo eggs
80ml Cornflour (use exact measurement for the perfect consistency)
cinnamon for sprinkling
Combine crushed biscuits and melted butter. Press onto the base of a cheesecake springform pan or a regular, medium size square dish.
In a pot, heat together milk and condensed milk. You can also add vanilla essence/pods.
Meanwhile, mix together eggs and cornflour (I use a hand blender).
Once milk is nicely heated, gradually pour in cornflour mixture while stirring simultaneously to prevent mixture from getting lumpy.
Once mixture is thick and custard like, pour it over base and sprinkle generously with cinnamon. Leave to cool and then refrigerate for several hours; preferably overnight. I find that it tastes best they day after it is made!
*The milky custard mixture can also be made in the microwave, but I prefer making it on the stove as I feel I have better control to prevent it from forming lumps.
The result is a combination of a sweet biscuit crust, creamy filling, and a hint of spice on the top! Pure perfection!!