Apparently the 27th of February 2014 was National Milk Tart Day. Well who knew that?
My social media feed keeps inflicting days like this on me: National Chocolate Day; National Espresso Day; National fry your chicken / slather everything in mustard /eat your popcorn/ bake a pie day.
I am always caught off guard, never privy to the same information and the result is that I never know what is coming up. It’s exasperating and as food sites flood the web with recipes for the latest National Day of SomeOddandRandomDish – National Toasted Marshmallow Day is an actual thing – I am generally wishing for a ‘National just CUT-IT-OUT Day’.
Anyway the Internet proved itself resourceful as always and Wikipedia has a list of food days coming up which you can peruse here. Spoiler Alert! This Sunday is National Chip and Dip Day. I jest not.
But, I digress, back to the milk tart. I think I last ate a slice of milk tart in the late nineties. This seemingly unremarkable fact should have been enough to tell me one simple thing; I am not a huge fan of this particular South African past time. Sometimes though, I am a slow to learn.
The day after National Milk Tart Day, a friend and I went to a local for a cuppa with our boys and wouldn’t they just be serving freshly made plaas (farm) milk tart. Trying not to be a spoil sport about this whole national day for everything malarkey, we ordered a slice which arrived still slightly warm, thick and custardy. My slice looked humble and lovely alongside my brewed coffee like any good milk tart should. One bite was all it took to remind me why I haven’t eaten milk tart since the late nineties. Friends, I abhor almond essence. Simply abhor the stuff. Truly. It makes me shudder and feel unpleasant.
I tried my best to forget about milk tart and the fact that it had its own National Day. I was doing great until I made a lemon tart for lunch over at the family. My cousin commented that the pastry was so great he wished they would use it for milk tarts. Arrrgggghhhh. Really?
So here it is Uncle Murfy, a beautiful milk tart with that perfect thin crisp sweet pastry for you, sans almond essence for me.
- 120 ml (120 g) cold butter, cut into small cubes
- 2 egg yolks
- 100 ml (⅓cup plus 4 tsp.) icing sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 250 g (2 cups) cake flour
- 30 ml (2 Tbsps.) water
- 750 ml (3 cups) milk
- 65 ml (¼ cup) cake flour
- 65 ml (¼ cup) corn flour
- 190 ml (¾ cup) sugar
- 4 eggs
- 65 ml (¼ cup) butter, melted
- 5 ml (1 tsp.) vanilla essence
- for dusting: ground cinnamon
- To make the pastry dough, place the butter, egg yolks, icing sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process.
- Add the flour and enough of the water until the mixture comes together in a ball.
- Place the dough into the refrigerator and rest for one hour.
- Using a little extra flour to prevent sticking, roll out the dough thinly into a circle large enough to line a large tart dish. Trim the edges neatly and return to the refrigerator for a further 15 minutes.
- Prick the bottom of the pastry and line with baking paper. Fill with baking beans or rice. Bake in a preheated oven at 190˚C for 15 minutes. Remove the baking paper and the beans and bake for a further 15 minutes or until the pastry is cooked through at the bottom and lightly golden. Set aside to cool.
- To make the filling, place the milk in a medium saucepan and bring it to the boil.
- Place the cake flour, corn flour, sugar and eggs into a bowl and whisk well. Pour over the hot milk and strain the custard back into the saucepan.
- Return the saucepan to medium heat and whisk continuously until the custard thickens.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and the vanilla essence.
- Pour the hot custard into the prepared pastry case.
- Sprinkle the top of the tart with cinnamon and set aside to cool and set before slicing.