This new take on the classic milk tart from The South African Milk Tart Collection, by Callie Maritz and Mari-Louis Guy, R280, (Human & Rousseau) is reminiscent of American truck stop treats


For the pastry

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2t baking powder
  • 1t salt
  • 1t sugar
  • 220g butter or margarine, cold and grated
  • ¾ cup milk
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

For the filling

  • 1 tub cream cheese
  • 1 box (90g) vanilla instant pudding
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh cream
  • 1t vanilla essence
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut, lightly toasted


To make the pastry

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  2. Use two knives to cut the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
  3. Evenly drizzle the milk over the mixture, then gently work the dough into a ball with your hands.
  4. Divide the dough in two, press each into a flat disc, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  5. Lightly flour the work surface, then roll out the dough to a thickness of about 6 mm.
  6. Cut 12 rounds of 15 cm diameter each from the dough. Refrigerate until needed, but for at least 20 minutes while you prepare the filling.

 To make the filling

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the instant pudding powder and milk and mix to combine.
  2. In a clean bowl of an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, whip the cream to stiff peak stage. Add the vanilla essence and mix to combine.
  3. Fold the cream into the cream cheese mixture.
  4. Add the coconut and stir to combine.
  5. Cover gently with plastic wrap and then refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until firm.
  6. Scoop about 2T of the filling into the centre of each pastry round. Brush the inside edge of the pastry with water.
  7. Fold the dough over to form half-moon shapes.
  8. Crimp and seal the edges with a fork.
  9. Heat the vegetable oil in a deep-fryer. Cook 2–3 pies at a time for 3 minutes, then turn and cook for a further 2 minutes or until golden.
  10. Drain off excess oil on paper towels.

 Makes 12 pies