This proper milk tart recipe, from The South African Milk Tart Collection, by Callie Maritz and Mari-Louis Guy, R280, (Human & Rousseau) is perfect for those who want a tart with a collar. The double puff pastry frill is sure to impress your tea-time guests



For the crust

  • 3 ¼ cups cake flour
  • ½t salt
  • 1t cream of tartar
  • 450g butter, very cold
  • 250 ml iced water
  • 15ml lemon juice

For the filling

  • 1,25 litres milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2/3 cup cakeflour
  • 50ml cornflour
  • 50ml custard powder
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 20g butter
  • 1t vanilla essence
  • ½t baking powder
  • ground cinnamon



To make the crust

  1. Sift the flour, salt and cream of tartar together twice.
  2. Roughly grate the butter and divide into four equal parts. Keep one part out and refrigerate the rest.
  3. Use two knives to cut the one part butter into the flour.
  4. Sprinkle the water and lemon juice over the flour.
  5. Mix together with a fork until a dough forms. Knead and fold the dough on a cold work surface until smooth and elastic.
  6. Throw the dough on a work surface 50 times.
  7. Lightly flour the work surface and roll out the dough to a thickness of 6mm. Roll with light diagonal movements away from yourself to keep the dough as rectangular as possible. Lift the dough periodically to ensure it does not stick.
  8. Cover two-thirds of the dough with one part grated butter. Fold the uncovered part of the dough over the buttered dough, then fold the remaining buttered part over again so that you’re left with three layers of dough with two buttered layers in between.
  9. Use a rolling pin to seal the sides and keep the air inside. Now fold the dough into thirds again lengthwise. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour until well chilled.
  10. Roll out to a thickness of 6mm again and repeat the process with another part butter, and refrigerate again.
  11. Repeat the process with the last part of butter. Roll out again, then fold in 3–4 layers to make a square.
  12. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  13. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 2,5-3 mm.
  14. Cut the dough 1cm wider than the tart plates to accommodate shrinkage.
  15. Lay the dough into the tart plates. Now cut a round strip of dough as wide as the edge of the plates. Lightly brush with water (but not all the way to the edges) and place over the dough on the edge. Brush the inside of the dough with lightly beaten egg white.
  16. Refrigerate the plates until needed.

 To make the filling

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 °C.
  2. In a saucepan set over moderate heat, combine 1 litre of the milk with the sugar and cinnamon stick. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then heat to just below boiling point. Set aside.
  3. Mix the flour, cornflour and custard powder into a smooth slurry with the remaining cup of milk.
  4. Beat the egg yolks until foamy, then add to the flour slurry.
  5. Return the milk to the heat, remove the cinnamon stick, then add the egg/flour slurry.
  6. Slowly bring to a boil while whisking continuously.
  7. Remove from the heat, then stir in the butter and vanilla essence.
  8. Beat the egg whites with the baking powder until stiff peaks form.
  9. Gently fold the egg whites into the custard.
  10. Pour the custard into the prepared crusts. Bake for 20–25 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. Cover with foil after 15 minutes if it looks like it is getting too dark.
  12. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon.

Makes 3 medium or 2 large tarts