South African Melktert or Milk Tart (Custard Pie)

Total Time
Prep 20 mins
Cook 25 mins

This traditional South African Melktert or Milk Tart is a variation of an egg custard pie which originated with the Dutch settlers who came South Africa in the 17th Century. Melktert was then adapted and made a purely South African creation by the Cape Malays. Apparently wives reputations hang on their Melkterts and recipes are family heirlooms. So, for something exotic and a bit different, give this a try.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Preheat oven to 400o F.
  2. Line bottom and sides of two pie plates (not deep dish) with puff pastry making raised edges.
  3. In a pot, bring milk to a slow boil and add butter, salt and cinnamon. Reduce to simmer.
  4. In a mixing bowl, combine custard powder, corn flour and cake flour. Stir in cold milk and mix to form a paste. Stir in a little of the hot milk mixture.
  5. Stir custard mixture into the pot of hot milk. Add 4 tbsp of the sugar and bring to a boil, stirring continuously.
  6. Remove from heat once the mixture has thickened. Discard cinnamon.
  7. Beat egg whites until stiff. Gradually beat in the remaining sugar. Set Aside.
  8. Beat egg yolks lightly and add a little of the custard mixture to the egg yolks.
  9. Then stir the yolk/custard mixture into the main custard mixture and add almond extract.
  10. Gently FOLD in the egg whites.
  11. Pour the mixture into the awaiting pie pans and bake for approximately 10 minutes.
  12. Lower the temperature to 350 F and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until the filling has set.
  13. Cool slightly and sprinkle the top of the custard pie with cinnamon and sugar.
  14. Serve cold.
Most Helpful

I love Melktert & as a child in South Africa always had one when I went for the weekly shop with Mum. Dont like things too sweet so only used 1/4 cup sugar for the whole recipe & made 24 small muffin size milk tarts using short crust or what may be know as pie pastry. Pre cooked the pastry with pie weights for 5 min at 200 Celsius let it cool then added the filling & cooked per instructions, it turned out perfectly & was loved by all. I'll definitely be making more as absolutely love them. Thanks for sharing.

Kirsten E. June 04, 2016

I also made 1 pie and it was wonderful. I like this recipe because many I found on the Internet contained condensed milk which is too sweet for me (I'm diabetic). In this recipe you can adjust the sugar to taste. I also like that it has almond extract. I also prebaked a regular pie crust for a short take before adding the filling.

linda.winkler October 19, 2014

This was great. I made only 1 pie because I only had enough milk for 1 :) I reduced the sugar a little too. The recipe only called for 1/4 cup but I added less anyway. I made my own crust instead of using puff pastry but it didnt cook through completely. The pie was done in about 12 mins! Next time, I will pre-bake my crust before adding the mixture. This is so great and my 2 yr old who prefers to eat nothing at all, actually took 4 bites of this one! It reminded me a little of a Caramel pudding my mom use to make when I was young. Great stuff!

Judi90 October 30, 2007