Who can resist South Africa’s most iconic custard treat? That is why we have a national Milk Tart Day, February 27, to celebrate the unmistakable smell of cinnamon, nostalgia and comfort.
There are a million ways to make a milk tart – baked or unbaked, with a traditional flaky pastry crust, sweet shortcrust pastry, a no-bake buttery cookie crust, or no crust at all, with or without vanilla and almond extract – the list is endless. Get creative and treat yourself to a glass of Roodeberg Rosé while baking.
“The floral notes of the Rosé playfully pick up the aromatics of almond, vanilla and citrus in the milk tart filling. It’s an unusual and fun combination,” says Ilse van der Merwe, a well-known food writer at www.thefoodfox.com.
For Milk Tart Day, Ilse has opted for a simple recipe that delivers big on flavour and texture. Her silky stovetop milk tart with a buttery baked crust is infused with vanilla, almond essence, cinnamon and lemon rind. To keep the tradition alive, Ilse suggests using an old school enamel plate for baking and decorating the top with cinnamon using ornate stencils.
Ilse van der Merwe’s milk tart recipe
(Makes 1 x 22cm tart)
You’ll need: For the crust – 1 ½ cups cake flour; 1/3 cup powdered icing sugar; 1/4 teaspoon salt; 125g cold butter, cubed; 1 X large egg yolk; 1 tablespoon iced water
For the filling – 2 cups full cream milk; 2 tablespoons butter; 2 strips lemon rind, thinly peeled (optional); 1 stick cinnamon (optional); ½ cup cream (or substitute with more milk); ½ cup sugar; 2 X large eggs; 3 tablespoons cornflour (Maizena); 2 tablespoons cake flour; 5ml vanilla extract; 2 ½ml almond essence; 1-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, for dusting
For the filling:
Place the milk, butter, lemon rind and cinnamon stick in a pot on the stovetop over medium heat. While it is heating up, place the cream, sugar, eggs, cornflour, cake flour, vanilla and almond essence in a mixing bowl and mix well with an electric beater.
When the milk mixture just starts to boil, remove the pot from the heat and remove the rind and cinnamon stick. Now pour the cream and egg mixture into the warm infused milk, stirring continuously. Place the pot back on medium heat and stir continuously until the mixture starts to thicken (2-3 minutes).
Turn down the heat to very low and continue to stir until the mixture is very smooth, thick and glossy (1-2 minutes) – taking care not to let the bottom burn. Remove from the heat and pour into the baked pastry case.
Smooth the top and leave to cool at room temperature. To use the stencil: place it gently on top of the cooled tart, then sift cinnamon all over to reveal the pattern. Lift the stencil and serve at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator, covered, for up to three days.
For the crust
Spray a 22cm tart tin/dish with non-stick spray and set aside. Place the flour, icing sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to mix. Add the butter and process until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add the yolk and cold water and continue to process at low speed until it just starts to come together in clumps. Turn out into the tin and press evenly into a thin layer all over (you might not need all of the pastry). Prick all over with a fork and place in the freezer.
Now, preheat your oven to 190°C with the rack in the centre while the dough firms up. After 20 minutes, transfer the cold tin to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven to cool while you make the filling.
Tip: If your custard mixture seems to have thickened with some clots, use an electric beater to make it silky smooth before you pour it into the prepared base. It’s quite forgiving!
Roodeberg Classic Rosé 2021 is available at leading stores countrywide or the Roodeberg Emporium at around R85 a bottle. For online sales visit kwvemporium.co.za