Most South Africans love a good old melktert which is the Afrikaans name meaning ‘milk tart’ – the classic quintessential dessert usually consisting of a sweet pastry crust, filled with a mild, creamy custard of milk, flour, sugar and eggs, baked in a round pie tin and dusted with cinnamon after baking.
Milk tart appears at every church bazaar, bake sale, home industry, supermarket, or bakery, and I’m pretty sure has been featured on every South African food blogger’s website, so why should I be left out??!!
The Traditional Tert
Traditionally, the crust consists of a home-made short-crust pastry but these days, many use ready-made puff pastry dough or just buy it whole from the supermarket . I’m not sure what my Voortrekker Great Great Granny would think of a Paleo tart, but hey it’s a sign of the times. There are numerous ways of baking the tart, some add the custard to be baked in the crust, and others call for the custard to be prepared in advance, and then placed in the crust and chilled before serving.
The filling is made with a large amount of milk and is evidence that melktert was introduced to us by the Dutch dairy farmers who settled the Cape of Good Hope in the middle of the century. To the milk is usually added sugar and eggs, thickened with flour or cornflour. Cinnamon and nutmeg is used to infuse the milk during cooking. Some recipes call for whole eggs, others require the eggs to be separated. The filling can vary in consistency from firm to wobbly. Cinnamon, is often sprinkled over the surface. It is served sliced at room temperature or chilled.
The crust is made with cassava and almond flour, and to allow for it to become roll-able and pliable I have added gelatin. Blended together in a food processor I then easily roll it out and place it into a tart pan and bake until crisp and golden. Whilst the crust is cooling after baking, the custard filling (which also contains gelatin) can be made and when ready poured into the baked crust then left to set in the fridge for a couple hours. SO so simple!!
Gelatin or Collagen?
The gelatin that I use is grassfed because gelatin is (and always has been) a highly nourishing food, as well as a very eco-friendly one. When all the more desirable parts of an animal have been removed, the skin, bones and tendons are left. These are used to make gelatin and collagen.
Our grandmothers did this in their kitchen by using the whole animal for multiple purposes, such as making broth. Making bone broth is still a great way to get the benefits of gelatin, but now gelatin and collagen powders make it even easier to add these amino acids to foods and recipes.
I know there is a huge amount of confusion between gelatin and collagen hyrolysate as many people think they are the same thing (collagen, collagen, collagen), they definitely are NOT and cannot be mixed up when using in this recipe or any others. See the chart below of a quick visual reference or click on this link to learn more…
Purchasing the Ingredients
Now, I realise that grassfed gelatin imported from the US is incredibly expensive but that being said, if you can afford to buy quality then that definitely is the route to go. Click below to purchase quality grassfed kosher gelatin
SOUTH AFRICA – wantitall.co.za
I really want this melktert to be affordable to all my readers in South Africa, so I have tried and tested it using regular gelatine from the supermarket. Yes, it works beautifully and please do go ahead and use it instead of clicking off this page to find another recipe.
I have included clickable links in the ingredients section of the recipe to make shopping in both South Africa and UK easier for everyone.