South African Milk Tart

South African Milk Tart

5 from 2 reviews

A traditional South African dessert made with sweet pastry and a milky custard. Recipe makes one large deep dish pie or 2 smaller tarts ( approx. 8″-9″ each).


Units Scale


  • 1/2 cup (125g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch of salt


  • 4 1/2 cups full milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons cornflour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Cinnamon for dusting on top


  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  2. Using a mixer cream butter and sugar together. Add egg and beat until light and fluffy.
  3. In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix together until dough comes together.
  4. On a prepared work surface lightly floured, roll out dough with a rolling pin. Place dough into pie dish/tin and using your fingers gently press into place (using either one or two round cake tins/pie dishes). Prick all over the bottom of the pastry with a fork. Trim edges and shape as desired.
  5. Use parchment paper to cover the base of the pastry and place pie weights or dry beans/rice over the paper to weight the pastry down. Place in the middle of the oven and bake blind for 15 minutes. Then remove the paper and beans/rice and continue to bake for an additional 5 minutes until light brown. Set aside.
  6. In a large pot bring milk to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile using a mixer beat eggs and sugar together. Add flour, cornflour and salt. Mix well. While the mixture is running on low carefully pour boiling milk into the mixture – making sure to slowly pour small amounts at a time (approx. 1/4 cup until halfway then add the rest) stir well. You don’t want to cook your eggs (Note: Make sure you are using the largest mixing bowl you have, so there is lots of room to pour the milk in. If you don’t have a large mixing bowl for your mixer, you can mix by hand).
  7. Return to stove and stir for 10-12 minutes on medium heat until the mixture thickens. Add butter and vanilla and mix. Pour into your pastry shell.
  8. Allow to cool in the fridge overnight or for at least 4 hours (you do not need to cook the tart any further).
  9. Sprinkle with cinnamon when ready to serve.


The milk tart will last in the fridge for 3-4 days before cutting and serving. You can make it well in advance. Just cover with plastic and once ready to serve dust with cinnamon.


Keywords: South Africa, Milk Tart, Milk Custard, Dessert, Tart