These South African milk tarts have a sweet custard filling and are dusted with cinnamon to finish. You’ll need 2 x 23cm pie dishes for this recipe. Allow 6 hours setting time or start the recipe a day ahead.






Skill level

Average: 3.9 (33 votes)


  • 125 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 110 g (½ cup) caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 300 g (2 cups) plain flour, sifted
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ground cinnamon, to dust

Custard filling

  • 1 litre milk
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 165 g (¾ cup) caster sugar
  • 35 g (¼ cup) plain flour
  • 50 g (⅓ cup) cornflour
  • ¼ tsp vanilla essence

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 20 minutes

Resting time 6 hours

Preheat oven to 180°C. To make pastry, process butter and sugar in a food processor, scraping sides of bowl, until pale and fluffy. Add egg and process until combined. Add flour and baking powder, and process until mixture forms a dough. Turn out onto a lined oven tray, shape into 2 discs, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Roll out each disc on a lightly floured work surface to 25 cm rounds and use to line 2 x 23 cm pie dishes. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, to make filling, place milk in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from heat. Whisk together eggs, sugar, flours, vanilla and a pinch of salt until smooth. Gently whisk egg mixture into hot milk and return over medium heat. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon for 4 minutes or until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Pour custard into pastry cases and refrigerate for 6 hours or until set. Dust with cinnamon. Slice tarts using a knife dipped in hot water.


Photography by Christopher Ireland.


As seen in Feast magazine, Jan 2012, Issue 5.