The trusty milk tart has been a South African favourite since the early 1700s. Spanning more than three hundred years, the milk tart definitely forms part of our South African heritage.
You might think this sounds rather dramatic, but have you attended a South African Church bazaar, christening, wedding, braai, or lekker kuier and not seen one of these tasty morsels on the table? If you have, perhaps they ate it before you arrived! Who could blame them? South African milk tart and its delicate milky flavour, gently dusted with earthy cinnamon, is easily scoffed without thoughts of sharing!
What is milk tart?
Similar to vanilla custard pudding, the milk tart has a dairy-based filling (the clue is in the name!) and a rich buttery crust. Of course, there are recipes for crustless milk tart, but behoorlike melktert loses some of its decadence without its traditional crumbly base!
When it comes to ingredients, the old-fashioned milk tart recipe calls for wholesome ingredients, such as proper butter, full cream milk, eggs, and lashings of sugar. Unfortunately, the milk tart is filled with tasty ingredients that flagrantly ignore any self-respecting waistline. So if you’re watching your calories, the FinGlobal team can happily oblige by eating that extra slice for you!
Where does milk tart come from?
The milk tart recipe is believed to originate from the early settler days and is thought to be a variation of the Dutch dessert ‘Mattentaart.’ This Dutch dessert was originally a cheesecake or rather curd cake made from egg, ground almond, milk, and buttermilk encased in a light, crunchy pastry.
Many theories and folk tales surround the milk tart and its origins, but one thing remains the same: its delicious gooey texture. Which has remained the same for so long; it’s quite possibly the glue that links Saffas together, no matter where they settle in the world!
A milk tart by another name
Most Saffas have a milk tart recipe hiding in the back of their dog-eared recipe books. One that has been passed on from Ouma to daughter and skoondogter to granddaughter; it’s a tradition! One particularly tasty variation is the milk tart recipe with tennis biscuits. Who can say they haven’t made that one?
However, while searching for something new and interesting, we stumbled across a fresh take on the milk tert, milk tart muffins! That’s not to say the three-hundred-year-old recipe isn’t good enough, but sometimes a lekker kuier needs a little extra edge to make it memorable.
Milk tart muffins
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
What you need
- 12-case muffin pan
- Large glass mixing bowl
- Large saucepan
- Wooden spatula
- Rolling pin
- 500 g All butter puff pastry sheets (thawed)
- 2 large free-range eggs
- 4 large free-range egg yolks
- 800 ml full cream milk
- 230 g castor sugar
- 8 tbsp cornflour
- 4 tsp vanilla extract
- Cinnamon for dusting
What to do
- Preheat the oven to 230 C
- Grease the muffin pan and place it on one side
For the filling
- In the large saucepan, combine the eggs, egg yolks, castor sugar, and cornflour. Use the wooden spatula to mix and press out any cornflour lumps. If you add the cornflour slowly while continuously mixing, you can avoid lumps entirely!
- Next, heat the mixture over low heat until it begins to boil. While the mixture is heating, use the whisk to stir it constantly until it thickens.
- Add the vanilla extract to the hot custard and stir in well. Then pour the custard into a large glass bowl and cover with cling wrap. This prevents a thick gloopy skin from forming on the custard as it cools.
For the pastry
- Roll the pastry sheet into a log and slice it into 12 equal slices. On a lightly floured surface, roll each pastry circle into a round shape. These will form the base of the muffin.
- Pop a pastry disc into each of the greased muffin tins’ casings and press down firmly.
- Now comes the fun part! Spoon generous dollops of the custard into each of the pastry cups. Leave some for the muffins; sneaky taste tests are strictly forbidden. Just kidding! But that stuff is so super tasty we wouldn’t blame you.
- Place the muffin tray in the pre-heated oven and leave the muffins to bake for approximately 20-25 minutes. If the muffins look golden on top, they are ready to come out.
- Leave the milk tart muffins to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before removing them and placing them on a wire rack or plate to cool further.
- Finally, sprinkle each muffin generously with sugar and cinnamon.
You can serve these gorgeous melk tert muffins warm or cold; they’re just as tasty either way. The beauty of mini milk tart muffins is they can be served as scrumptious puds for guests or packed as tasty lunch box treats. The only problem is you will never make enough of them no matter how hard you try!
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