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Milk Tart Recipe

This creamy, insanely delicious and not too sweet South African milk tart recipe (melk tert recipe) with an intense vanilla and cinnamon flavor is absolutely to die for!! Made with very simple ingredients that you always have on hand. Makes a perfect anytime dessert!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Chill Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 35 mins
Course: Baking, Dessert, Puddings and desserts
Cuisine: African, Angolan, Botswanan, Namibian, South African
Keyword: custard tart, easy milktart recipe, how to, melk tert recipe, Melktert, melktert recipe, milk tart recipe, Namibian milk tart recipe, South African custard tart, South African milk tart recipe
Servings: 8 Servings
Author: Ester from esterkocht.com


  • 28 cm (11 inch) flan dish (tart tin).
  • Parchment paper
  • Rolling pin
  • Small pot or saucepan
  • Whisk


For the shortcrus pastry

  • 125 g (4.4 oz/ about 1/2 cup) butter softened
  • 65 g (2.3 oz/ 1/3 cup) sugar
  • 1 medium egg
  • 250 g ( 8.8 oz/ 2 cups) plain flour/ all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • a pinch of salt

For the custard filling

  • 625 ml/ 21.13 fl. oz/ 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cinnamon stick (SEE NOTES)
  • 1 medium egg
  • 85 g (3 oz/ about 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons) sugar
  • 30 g (1.1 oz/ ¼ cup) plain flour/ all purpose flour
  • 30 g (1.1 oz/ ¼ cup) cornstarch (corn flour)
  • 1 vanilla bean (SEE NOTES)
  • 2 tablespoons butter

You'll also need

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon to garnish
  • dried beans, rice, lentils or similar to weigh down the tart crust


  • Start off by mixing the shortcrust pastry ingredients into a bowl together with your hands to a firm dough. Wrap it with a cling film or parchment paper and chill for about 30 minutes. In the meantime make the filling.
  • Using the tip of the knife split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the vanilla seeds. Mix the scraped out seeds with sugar very well. In a medium pot combine milk (leaving about 5 tablespoons milk behind), vanilla sugar that you've just made, cinnamon stick and empty vanilla bean pod and bring to a boil (at a low heat). Remove from the heat and let infuse for at least 2 hours. In this way the vanilla and cinnamon flavors will be intensified. Then Preheat the oven to 180 ° C (372 °F), with both top and bottom heat.
  • After chilling the dough, take it out of the fridge. Now you can either either 1) crumble the pastry into a buttered tart pan. Using your hands, press the shortcrust pastry into the pan. Make the pastry a bit high on the sides as well.
    2) or you roll out the dough between two parchment papers. Rolling it out this way makes life makes easier. Remove the parchment paper on top, but leave the one at the bottom of the rolled out pastry. Transfer the pastry to a tart tin and make it fit nicely. - (If you want, you can also roll out the pastry dough on a floured work surface with a floured rolling pin. Then transfer it to the tart dish with the help of the rolling pin.)
  • Now prick the pastry several times with a fork. Use either dried beans, rice, lentils and co. to weigh down the milk tart crust. Simply line the tart dough with parchment paper, add some weight and blind bake for 35 minutes. Feel free to remove the weight 5 minutes before the end of baking time, so that the crust will become nicely golden brown. Remove the tart crust from the oven, followed by the weight and let cool completely before filling. This takes about 2 hours.
  • Now it's time to go back to making the milk tart filling. After 2 hours, heat the cinnamon-vanilla-milk mixture on low heat and remove the vanilla pod and cinnamon stick. Whisk together cornstarch, plain flour, an egg and leftover milk and add mixture to the pot. Keep stirring constantly until the custard thickens.
  • Stir in the butter and immediately pour the filling into blind baked tart crust. Let cool to room temperature for an an hour. Then place it in the refrigerator until the filling has completely set. Sprinkle with cinnamon just before serving and enjoy.


  • If you don’t have vanilla bean, try to use 2- 3 teaspoons vanilla essence or about 3 tablespoons vanilla sugar. Also feel free to substitute cinnamon stick with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. If you don't use vanilla bean and cinnamon stick, the there is no need to let your milk mixture infuse for 2 hours.
  • Feel free to remove the weight 5 minutes before the end of baking time, so that the crust will become nicely golden brown.
  • You must let the shortcrust pastry cool completely before adding the filling, otherwise the crust will become soggy, if you fill it immediately.
  • Once you've added egg – flour mixture to the pot for thickening keep stirring constantly , otherwise the sauce will get lumps, that will affect the creamy and smooth texture of the custard.
  • Let the tart cool to room temperature for an hour, before putting it in the refrigerator to set. This prevents the crust from getting soggy.