Nobody’s ouma’s milk tart

December 9th, 2011 § 14 comments § permalink

To appease my acid levels after my bitch session in Do I look bloggered? and because I was feeling nostalgic, I decided to bake a milk tart for the first time in twenty years. Milk tart. That cornerstone of Boere culinaria and the absolute antithesis of newfangled confectionary. Even in our mothers’ era milk tart was considered a tad oudoos. It’s more of an ouma thing. It is currently enjoying a retro-cool revival but I have encountered a few pasty, gelatinous offerings in restaurants. Of course, always pimped as The Best Milk Tart Ever Made With Grandma’s Recipe. Did grandma have a rough time of it during the Great Depression… or are you just skimping on eggs and butter?


Mom's much handled recipe tome


I was convinced me and my grandma’s recipe could do better. And that I would find it in my mom’s big black book. Quelle horreur when a definitive family recipe was nowhere to be found! I found a milk tart crust on page 4 and further on my old neighbour tannie Evelene’s coconut milk tart, followed by aunty Elsabe’s regular milk tart towards the end of the book. All I know is I like my tart with a Tennis biscuit crust. And enough cinnamon on top. So I took Evelene’s crust and Elsabe’s filling and baked a tart that eclipsed any of my sepia-toned, butter and eggy custard memories. I will give you the recipe. If you don’t have a memorable milk tart recipe in your family, please adopt this one. Pretend. Copy and paste it any which way you like. Don’t bother with credits because this really is nobody’s ouma’s milk tart.


She's plain but all heart


Universal ouma’s milk tart recipe:

CRUST 1 packet Tennis biscuits, reduced to fine crumbs; half a cup of sugar; half a cup of flour; 125g soft butter

Cream butter and sugar together, add dry ingredients, mix well. Line a standard pie dish (pictured above), including the sides and press down gently to create an even crust.

FILLING 1 litre full cream milk; 125g butter; 1 cup sugar; 4 very heaped tablespoons flour; pinch salt; 4 eggs separated, whites beaten to soft peaks; vanilla (I used two vanilla pods but would guess a quarter teaspoon of vanilla essence should do it); cinnamon

Heat oven to 220 degrees Celsius. Pour most of the milk into a pot, leave a cup aside to add to dry ingredients. Add butter to milk and bring to the boil. Remove vanilla seeds from pods, add seeds and pods to milk. Let milk boil for a minute or three to absorb the vanilla flavour, stir to keep from burning. In a bowl, make a dough with the flour, sugar, salt, egg yolks and remaining milk. Once milk has boiled, strain through a sieve, pour over dough. Mix well and pour back into pot. Medium heat and whisk like hell otherwise you’ll have lumpy custard in no time. Allow to thicken, then add whipped egg whites.  Pour into pie dish, sprinkle with cinnamon and bake for about 20 minutes until set and crust edge is golden.

I strongly recommend you have a slice while it’s still warm. Delicious. My neighbour Simon described it as ‘quite possibly the best milk tart ever’ and Lord knows Simon’s a tough dessert diva to please.