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Milktart – the do’s and don’ts!

Posted on May 16, 2014 by in baked goods

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Milktart, that quintessential South African dessert that announces so proudly…… “Winter is here!”

Milktart brings back fond memories for me! My mom always made the crustless version, maybe because she was always on a tight budget for time! As children we did not mind, because the silky, creamy texture and the crunch of the cinnamon sugar was more than satisfactory to us! Every now and my mom would order some proper milktarts from Tannie Babbie Steyn! Oh glory days, the puff pastry was something to write epistles about! The texture was so light and fluffy, the taste slightly salty and then you hit the soft, velvety filling! Heaven in every single bite!


Milktart with Puff Pastry

There are however so many varieties of milktart and I get weekly emails regarding the milktart . Which pastry is best, do you add whipped egg whites or don’t you! Do you pre-bake the pastry or not? Do you add cinnamon to the milk or afterwards, questions, questions! So on Saturday morning I donned the old apron on and started working my way through all the questions!

The Pastry

I tried two versions! The first one, I made with a good quality shop-bought puff pastry. The second I used a cottage cheese Pastry that I got from Retha Cronje in Bloemfontein! We all loved the milktart with the cottage cheese pastry! The pastry also flakes, although not as much as the puff pastry, but the buttery, salty taste of the cottage cheese version was hard to beat.


Milktart with Cottage Cheese Pastry

The Filling

Some recipes ask to separate the egg yolks and egg whites, others not! I tried both versions and to me I think it is a matter of personal preference. The  first option gives a lighter and more aerated result while the second version is solid and bold…. almost a man’s kind of milktart! So if you want to enter your milktart in some kind of competition, separate your egg yolks and whites, but if you want to steal your man’s heart, keep it simple!

The Baking

Pre-bake or not, that is the big question! How do you prevent a soggy bottom? Most probably the best advise I was given came from Ambelene Fandamaly  and that is to always bake your milktart in a tin plate (blikbord). The pastry puffs beautifully, the filling cooks perfectly and there is not a soggy bottom to be seen anywhere. Thank you Ambelene!


Crustless Milktart

Milktart #1

makes 1 tart


1 sheet puff pastry
1 liter milk
125 ml sugar
45 ml butter
a pinch of salt
2 eggs
5 ml vanilla essence
¾ cup cornflour


Use a tin plate (Blikbord) and cut the pastry slightly bigger than the plate. Spray the plate with Spray ‘n Cook and lay the pastry in it. From the off cuts, cut a long strip of pastry and put around the egdes of the pastry to create an extra layer of “puff”.
Pour milk, salt, sugar and butter in a pot and bring to the boil. In the meantime, mix the eggs, vanilla essence and mazeina to a smooth paste. When milk starts to make bubbles, add the mazeina mixture and stir until it is thick and velvety. Spoon the mixture into pastry case and bake for 25 minutes or until the pastry is all puffed out. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and serve!

Milktart #2 ( the filling is from Sarie Kos)

makes 1tart


250 ml butter – soft but not melted
250 ml cottage cheese
250 ml flour

Mix the 3 ingredients and cover with cling film and refrigerate, preferably overnight. When you are ready to bake, roll out the pastry on a floured surface and cut slightly bigger than your tin plate. Use off cuts and cut a thn strip of pastry to put around the edges of the pastry case. It makes a beautiful layer puffed casing!

For the filling

75 ml flour
50ml cornflour
50ml sugar
1 ml salt
125ml milk

Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix until smooth . Set aside.

2 egg yolks
25 ml sugar
2 ml ” egg yellow ” coloring
7 m vanilla

Place the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until well blended . Set aside.

2 egg whites
½ ml cream of tartar
25 ml sugar

Put these three ingredients in yet another medium bowl and set aside . Preheat oven to 260 ° C. The oven rack should be on the second level from the bottom.

Place the following in a saucepan

550 ml milk
10 ml butter
2 sticks cinnamon

Once the oven is hot, heat the milk, butter and cinnamon to a boil. Turn off the heat . Add the hot milk to the flour – and – milk mixture and stir until smooth. Pour back into the saucepan and on a low heat, stir the milk mixture in the saucepan until thick. Pour milk mixture in the saucepan back into the bowl .

Remove cinnamon. Stir in the egg yolk mixture . ( Beat egg white mixture until just stiff , not too much because then it dries.) Fold egg white mixture into the filling. Pour into pastry case, sprinkle lightly with ground cinnamon, if desired  and bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes . Reduce temperature to 200 ° C for 10 minutes. If it’s too brown , place a piece of aluminum foil lightly on top with the shiny side to the element. Serve lukewarm.

Milktart #3

makes 1 big milktart

4 eggs
250 ml sugar
60 g melted butter
250 ml flour
5 ml baking powder
2 ml salt
500 ml milk
500 ml buttermilk ( I used full fat yogurt)
10 ml vanilla essence

Separate eggs and mix egg yolks with sugar and butter. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix untul smooth. Add the milk and buttermilk and mix thoroughly. Whisk the egg whites until it forms stiff peaks and fold into the milk mixture. Pour the mixture into prepared pie plate and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Bake for 45 minutes until set.
You can also make two smaller tarts


So What is my verdict!

– If you are in a hurry and in need of a milktart fix, the crustless version does not disappoint! It is creamy and delicious. It is also a big recipe, so you can share and have seconds.

-I prefer the milktart filling where you add the stiff egg whites afterwards. It just looks better and still tastes delish!

-I know it is a little effort, but the cottage cheese pastry to me is tops. I like the texture and slightly saltiness it has!

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12 Responses to “Milktart – the do’s and don’ts!”

  1. Anita 28 May 2014 at 2:16 pm #

    verskillende melkterte wat ‘n mens moet weet en nie.

  2. Valerie Beukes 6 July 2014 at 3:40 pm #

    Ek het die melktert met die broskorsdeeg gebruik en dit was vir my nog die beste melktert wat ek nog geeet het

    • nerinatimm 7 July 2014 at 2:58 pm #

      Wonderlike nuus!!!

  3. Valerie Beukes 6 July 2014 at 3:43 pm #

    Ek het die melktert met die broskors gemaak.Die lekkerste melktert wat ek nog geeet het

  4. dianne bibby 27 February 2015 at 10:05 am #

    They all look irresistible Nina! Always remember my Mom making the crustless version and this is now also my daughters’ absolute favourite.

  5. Annelise Luckhoff 27 February 2015 at 12:19 pm #

    Dit lyk DEVINE lekker!! Verlang nou na Ouma Lettie …. ❤️. Ek laaike daai blikborde en bak!

  6. Delia 6 March 2015 at 7:49 am #

    Laas Vrydag het ek Nationale Melktert Dag gevier met Melktert 2. ek is so bly en verlig dat ek uiteindelik ‘n resep gekry het wat aan al my vereistes voeldoen. Die melktert was heerlik, lig en romerig en die kors was perfek. Baie dankie, uiteindelik kan ek ook nou melktert bak!

  7. Sharon 24 December 2017 at 9:43 pm #

    Does one have to use cornflour can I replace it with something else I just cannot find it anywhere

    • nerinatimm 16 January 2018 at 5:22 am #

      Hi Sharon, I take it you live abroad, because cornflour is readily available in South Africa and sells as Mazeina. You can use flour instead!

  8. Gezina 27 October 2018 at 11:32 am #

    Why dies my milktart filling split? Bake it at 180 it rises perfect…sag down and then there is water comming out if J cut it. Can you baje it in a vain nari to help prevent that?

  9. Amanda de Jager 4 November 2020 at 9:44 pm #

    My melktert trek vog as ek dit in yskas sit. Hoekom gebeur dit?


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