When it's too hot to turn on the oven, opt for these easy tarts instead, with a creamy, spiced milk topping over a biscuit crumb base.




Skill level

Average: 2.7 (27 votes)

"Milk tart is a very well-loved South African dessert," says Sarah Graham when she makes this in Sarah Graham's Food Safari. "In this part of the world that’s everywhere. It’s on every tea table and it’s at every school bake sale and that is something that I am not sorry about."


  • 12 ginger biscuits (or digestive biscuits)


  • 800 ml full-cream milk
  • 1 cinnamon stick or 1 level tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 vanilla pods, split lengthways
  • 3 ‘bruised’ cardamom pods (gently squash them; they are optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup cornflour
  • ¼ cup sifted flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Cooling time: 30 minutes

1. To make the pudding bases, crush the biscuits in a sealable bag or clean dish towel using a rolling pin. 

2. Divide the biscuit crumbs between your pudding glasses (something similar to martini glasses usually works well) or ramekins. 

3. To make the filling, heat the milk in a saucepan, along with the cinnamon, cardamom pods, and vanilla, until it just starts to boil, then remove from the heat. 

4. In a heatproof bowl, beat the eggs well, and add the sugar, cornflour, flour and salt. Mix well until combined and smooth. 

5. Remove the cinnamon stick, cardamom and vanilla pods from the milk and slowly add it to the egg mix, whisking as you do. Return everything to the pan to a low heat and stir until the mixture reaches a thick custard-like consistency. This takes just a couple of minutes, so keep your eye on it; you don't want the mixture to burn. 

6. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture into your glasses or ramekins and leave to set at room temperature, or if you need to speed things up, in the fridge. 

7. Sprinkle with cinnamon and a light dusting of nutmeg just before serving.