Milk Tart by Siba Mtongana

This recipe was provided by South African superstar Siba Mtongana, who demonstrated at our 2018 Cake Bake & Sweets Show.

Popularly referred to as melktert, this dish is a truly authentic South African one. I was given this tasty recipe in a practical class at culinary school many years ago. I’ve altered it slightly to make the  filling lighter and more airy. If you’re attempting this recipe for the first time, read the whole recipe through, along with the tip, so you know what’s coming and can get certain things ready before starting. once you’ve tasted it, you’ll f ind it seriously hard to buy a store-bought milk tart again because it’s that good! 

Preparation time: 20 min

Cooking time: 15 min

Baking time: 30 min

Serves 6+ 


  • 250ml all-purpose flour  
  • 125ml butter 
  • 60ml icing sugar  
  • 15–30ml iced cold water (optional) 

Milk custard filling  

  • 750ml full cream milk  
  • 1 stick cinnamon 
  • 2 whole cloves  
  • 1 cardamom seed 
  • 60ml all-purpose flour  
  • 80ml white sugar 
  • 2ml salt 
  • 30ml butter  
  • 3 eggs, separated  
  • 5ml vanilla extract   

Sugar sprinkle  

  • 5ml ground cinnamon  
  • 2ml nutmeg, very finely
    ground (optional) 
  • 30ml caster sugar  



  1. Place the pastry ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Tip onto a clean surface and gather to form into a dough. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least one hour. 
  2. Now preheat the oven to 180°C. Remove the dough from the fridge and place on
    a lightly floured surface. Dust a rolling pin with flour and gently roll the dough out. Place over a greased 23cm loose-bottom tart tin, with edges of the dough slightly higher than the tin. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes, then prick the bottom with a fork a few times and blind bake (see tip below) it in the oven for 10 minutes until half baked. Remove from the oven. 
  3. Heat 625ml of the milk and the spices in a heavy bottomed saucepan until just below boiling point. In a small bowl, mix the flour, sugar and salt together and
    add the remaining milk, stirring to prevent lumps. Add to the hot milk mixture
    and whisk well. Cook over a low heat, stirring continuously until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Allow to cool. 
  4. Remove the spices, beat the egg yolks (please note it’s only the yolks) together with the vanilla extract, and stir into the cooled milk mixture. In a large clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until they’re softly peaking and gently fold into the custard mixture. Pour into the half-baked pastry shell and bake for about 25–30 minutes until set.   
  5. Mix the sugar sprinkle ingredients together and sprinkle over the milk tart once
    it has cooled slightly. Serve at room temperature or chilled. 


Siba’s tip… 

Blind baking is necessary when the filling requires less time to cook than the pastry. In this instance, half bake the pastry by covering it with baking paper and filling it with heavy ingredients like rice or beans to weigh it down and prevent it from puffing up while baking. Once half-baked, remove the beans and paper.