South African Melktert (Milk Tart)

Milk Tart – This “cream pie” is a specialty of Johannesburg, where the world’s largest gold rush began in 1886, attracting European migrants who sought to make their claim on the newly discovered fortunes. The excavation of this seemingly endless supply of gold and diamonds required cheap labor, supplied by the African people already living in this region. The story of Johannesburg—known as Egoli (“city of gold”) in Zulu, the language and name of South Africa’s largest ethnic group—is that of a city forged by people from different walks of life seeking wealth and opportunity. It is from this layered history that Johannesburg’s rich and diverse culinary customs were born. The cinnamon in this recipe is considered an ode to the Javanese slaves that were brought to the Cape of South Africa by the Dutch East India Company. It’s often eaten as a dessert, or as a treat with tea.

Tant’ Sannie Se Melktert Milk Tart

The melktert (milk tart) is a delicious baked-egg custard tart made of a fluffy mixture of eggs, milk, and sugar, sometimes enhanced with Tant' Sannie Se Melktert liquor, filled into a light, crunchy and sweet pastry crust. Topped with a generous dusting of cinnamon, the melktert is perfect when it’s given time to settle and cool in the fridge.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: African, South Africa
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 8
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Pie plate, 9 or 10 inches
  • Medium saucepan
  • Stand mixer with whisk and paddle attachments


Pie Crust

  • 8 tbsp Unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup Castor sugar (granulated OK)
  • 1 large Egg
  • 2 cups Cake flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1 pinch Salt

Milk Tart Filling

  • cups Whole milk
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 large Egg
  • 2 tbsp Flour
  • 2 tbsp Cornstarch
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • cup Tant' Sannie se Melktert liqueur (or homemade)
  • 1 tsp Ground cinnamon

Homemade Melktert Liqueur

  • 1 cup Vodka
  • cup Condensed milk
  • cup Evaporated milk


Pie Crust

  • Preheat oven to 350° (180°C). Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment. Add egg and beat well. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix to combine thoroughly to form a stiff dough.
  • Press the dough evenly in a pie plate, including up the sides. Prick bottom several times with a fork. Bake until crust becomes golden and crispy, about 30 minutes.

Milk Tart Filling

  • Place milk and cinnamon stick in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil then remove from heat. Discard cinnamon stick.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment, whisk egg, flour, sugar, and vanilla together. With motor on low, add a little hot milk into the egg mixture to temper (ensure egg doesn't scramble by pouring hot milk in all at once). With motor still on, slowly add remaining hot milk and whisk until combined.
  • Return the milk mixture back to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until thickened. Stir or whisk continuously until it reaches a custard-like consistency. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and melktert liqueur. Pour custard into the pie shell and sprinkle cinnamon over the top. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Melktert Liqueur

  • Pour vodka, condensed milk, and evaporated milk into a large lidded jar or bottle. Shake well and refrigerate.


  • Both the pie crust and custard can be made in advance and refrigerated days in advance. Combine when ready to serve.
  • Tant’ Sannie Se Melktert is a special liquor unique to South Africa. If you find it, get it. If you can’t, either use the recipe above for a similar taste or replace it with a different flavored Bailly’s Irish Cream liqueur or Kahlua. 


Calories: 589kcal | Carbohydrates: 76g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 100mg | Sodium: 175mg | Potassium: 329mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 49g | Vitamin A: 658IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 275mg | Iron: 1mg

Search More Recipes:

Key Ingredients
Cooking Method

Search All MHT Recipes:

Key Ingredients
Cooking Method