sweet + creamy milk tart

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When I think back of my childhood I’m reminded of many fond memories and many fond flavours – from spicy pancakes (or daltjies) to sweet and fragrant vermicelli. One in particular is this sweet and creamy milk tart, where the main ingredient is (you guessed it) milk. The milk is boiled and seeped in cinnamon and cardamom, making it a delightful treat eaten warm or after refrigerated cold.

Milk tart is a classic South African heritage recipe and it’s utterly delicious. The filling consists of cooked custard and the tart itself is be baked – most similar to a Portuguese pasteis de nata and originates from the Dutch part of our heritage. The base of this milk tart is simply shortcrust pastry, filled with milk cooked with cinnamon, cardamom, eggs, butter, sugar and condensed milk. If you prefer it less sweet you can replace the condensed milk with more milk and some sugar.

This delicious and creamy tart is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. It’s one of my favorite recipes to prepare during Ramadan (period of fasting for Muslims). I find that because South African Milk Tart uses such simple ingredients, it’s important to use good quality ingredients. Splurge a bit for good butter, local milk and pure vanilla – I can promise you’ll be able to taste the difference!

sweet + creamy milk tart recipe

  • serves serves ten people
  • prep time thirty minutes
  • total time forty five minutes


  • one cup of butter, softened
  • half a cup of brown sugar (or castor sugar)
  • one small egg
  • half a teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • one cup of self raising flour
  • one cup of cake flour
  • three hundred and fifty milliliters of condensed milk (or replace with a liter of full fat milk)
  • three and a half cups of full fat milk
  • nine eggs
  • three to four pieces of stick cinnamon
  • three to four crushed cardamom pods
  • two tablespoons of butter


  1. Preheat the oven to one hundred and eighty degrees celsius.

  2. To prepare the base, in a large mixing bowl cream one cup of butter and half a cup of brown sugar.

  3. Add an egg and the vanilla essence and mix well.

  4. Lastly, sift in the self raising and cake flour to form a firm dough.

  5. Grease and line a tart baking dish with the dough and put aside.

  6. In a large saucepan or pot pour the condensed milk and full fat milk, adding two tablespoons of butter, cinnamon and cardamom. Bring it to a boil.

  7. Allow the mixture to cool.

  8. Whip the eggs and add to the cooled off mixture.

  9. Strain the egg-milk mixture into the baking dish and sprinkle with ground cinnamon.

  10. Bake in the oven for forty five minutes or until set.

  11. Serve warm or cold with a dollop of fresh cream.

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