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South African Melktert or Milk Tart is a variaton of an egg custard pie which originated with the Dutch settlers who came South Africa in 1652

Melktert was then modified and made a purely South African creation by the Cape Malays who were brought to South Africa as slaves.


lb puff pastry
1 tsp butter
good pinch salt
1 stick cinnamon
3 cups boiling milk
2 tsp custard powder
3 tsp corn flour
3 tsp cake flour
2 tbsp cold milk
cup sugar
4 large eggs, separated
tsp almond essence
cinnamon and sugar

South African Melktert; A traditional Custard Pie Recipe
Melktert a traditional South African Custard Pie Recipe

To make the Custard Pie

Preheat oven to 400o F

Line the bottom and sides of two pie plates with the puff pastry and make a raised edge for each.

Fill the pie plates with rice or sago, seperated from the pastry by wax paper. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.

To make the custard pie filling,

Add the butter, salt and cinnamon to the boiling milk.

Mix the custard powder, corn flour and cake flour to a paste with the cold milk and then stir in a little of the hot milk mixture.

Stir the custard mixture into the hot milk. Add 4 tbsp of the sugar and bring to the boil, stirring continuously.

Remove from the stove when the mixture has thickened and discard the cinnamon.

Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gradually beat in the remaining sugar.

Beat the egg yolks lightly and add a little of the custard mixture to the egg yolks.

Then stir the yolk / custard mixture into the main custard mixture and add the almond extract.

Fold in the egg whites, being careful not to beat but add with a gentle folding motion.

Pour the custard mixture into the pastry cases and bake for approximately 10 minutes.

Lower the temperature to 350o F and bake for a further 10 to 15 minutes or until the filling has set.

Cool slightly and sprinkle the top of the custard pie with cinnamon and sugar.

Serve cold.

South African farm wives compete with each other regarding the reputation of their custard pie or 'melktert'

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