Melktert - South African Comfort Food

When I think about South African desserts, I think of malvapoeding, asynpoeding, Jan Ellis-poeding and brandy pudding.  However, I think melktert is probably the most famous of all the South African desserts.  Melktert (translated as "milk tart" in English) has been made in South Africa since the time of the Dutch settlers in the Cape and consists basically of a sweet crust, filled with a milk and egg custard.  Although similar to a traditional European custard tart or Chinese egg tart, it contains a higher ratio of milk, so it is lighter in colour and texture and has a stronger milk flavour.

There are two types of melktert.  The one has has the custard filling baked in the oven and is quite a bit more labour intensive but probably more traditional.  For the second type, the custard is cooked on the stove, added to the pie crust and then allowed to set in the refrigerator.  This one is dead easy to make, even in a Taiwanese kitchen, so give it a try.  It rates very high up on my "comfort food" scale and can be eaten warm in the winter or cold in the summer. [By the way, my mother corrected me - there are indeed THREE types of melktert.  The one I forgot to mention is the crustless melktert.  -Ed.]

Maklike Melktert / Easy Milk tart


Pie Crust

  • 125g butter or margarine
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour, sifted
  • pinch of salt, sifted

  • 1 litre milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 10ml vanilla essence
  • some cinnamon for sprinkling 

  1. Cream the butter and sugar together and beat in the egg.
  2. Add the flour and salt and knead until a soft dough is formed.
  3. Press the dough into a greased circular pie dish (traditionally an enamel plate) and bake at 180 ̊C for about 15 minutes.
  4. Bring the milk and butter to the boil.  The stoves in Taiwan are very hot, so take care not to burn the milk.
  5. Cream the sugar, eggs, corn flour, flour and vanilla essence.
  6. Add some of the hot milk to the creamed mixture, then pour it back into the pot and heat gently until it thickens.
  8. Pour the filling into the pie crust and let it cool.
  9. Refrigerate until required and sprinkle with ground cinnamon to serve.
Enjoy with a steaming cup of freshly brewed coffee.


  1. I want to eat it....just want to eat it.....when r you going to make one???

  2. You know, it is so difficult to know when my jet setter friend will be IN Taiwan and not off to China or Korea...

  3. This is delicious! My beautiful South African friend Chantal made this for me YUMMY!!!

  4. Love your posts! Lived in Australia my whole life, but was raised by my Afrikaans parents on bredies (exactly the same as yours, right down to the silky sheen on the gravy that comes from cooking the meat properly!), koeksisters rolled in syrup and coconut, potjiekos and peas & carrots stew, and of course, milktart!

    Your photos all look lekker! Off to make some green-bean stew now! :)

    1. Thank you for the visit! It seems like your parents raised you on all the South African staples, just like I was. Mmmm...I love a good green bean stew with a very good grinding of black pepper!

  5. Haai. Ekse waar is die resep vir die oond gekookde melktert? Suid Affa wie woon in Northolt. Email


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