South African milk tart with a twist

Milktart is a very proud South African recipe and one of my favourites. And let me tell you, it sure is a preferred and well liked recipe in my household. Nevertheless this is not a typical dish of milk tart; this one comes with a bit of a twist.

Rather than making use of sugar to sweeten the 'custard', I make use of condensed milk. It adds a beautiful creaminess along with the already truly wonderful flavour that is only available if you use condensed milk in your recipe.

And you definitely know something is really good when a quite loud South African “Afrikaans” family goes extremely quite while they are consuming traditional South African milk-tart, which incidentally happened again last week when I served it up for family and friends that came for a visit.
You can make the pastry yourself like I did, or you can make use of a prefabricated short-crust pastry if you don't have the time to make it yourself. What makes this South African recipe so very-very delicious and so easy to make is unlike other milk tart recipes, the filling do not need to be cooked. You simply permit it to cook in a stove, then pour the concoction onto the crust and you then place it in the refrigerator.


Buying the baking products beforehand

For our international readers and expat South Africans living overseas you can now buy all your baking products online via a South African product and food store called Saffatrading including traditional baking products that you will only be able to find in a South Africa grocery store or on a SA online food shop.


This recipe below makes one typical standard-size milk-tart

Making of the crust: (If you discover that there is way too much dough for this recipe, cover the dough that is left over in some cling-wrapping and then freeze it for the next time.
  • 70g soft butter.
  • 70ml - 5 teaspoons caster sugar.
  • 1 normal size egg.
  • 250ml 1 mug of flour.
  • 5ml - 1 teaspoons baking powder.
  • A pinch of salt.


Ingredients for the filling:

  • 500ml milk.
  • 1 tin condensed milk.
  • 15 ml butter or margarine.
  • 2 large eggs.
  • 5ml Vanilla extract.
  • 50g corn flour.
  • Cinnamon for sprinkling.
To make the crust, combine the sugar and butter till it’s fluffy and light. Now add the egg and beat it well before including the flour, the salt and baking powder. Mix it well.
Now place the dough into a specific made pie-dish and bake for approximately 15 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius. Now you need to remove it from the stove and permit it to cool down.

How to make the filling:

Incorporate the milk, condensed milk and the butter or margarine in a little saucepan and let it boil.
Beat the corn-flour, eggs and the vanilla together.
Whilst you are whisking these 3 ingredients, gradually pour 1 mug of the milk blend into the egg mixture and whisk it well.
Now you need to add the egg combo into the remainder of the milk blend and allow it to carefully thicken whilst constantly stirring it to avoid it forming any lumps.
It ought to take around 5-8 minutes for the blend to expand. Now you need to taste it to make certain that there is no 'floury' structure or taste, it needs to be totally smooth.
The filling should have the feel of a thick-cheese sauce just before pouring it over the crust. If it does not have the specific feel you can add a couple of teaspoons of corn-flour and milk.
Transfer the filling up into the cooled down pie crust and spray with cinnamon. Now you can refrigerate it until it is firm and ready to be eaten. This will normally take about 2 hours before its ready to be consumed.

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Cantonese-style Roast Duck Recipe

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I urge you to try this recipe soon, you know you are up for a memorable meal.

Babi Kecap (Slow Braised Pork with Ginger, Chilli & Sweet Soy Sauce)

Babi Kecap Recipe
(Adapted from Rick Stein's Far East Odyssey)
Serves 6


2 tbsp vegetable oil
100 g shallots, thinly sliced
50 g garlic, crushed
25 g peeled ginger, finely grated
1.25 kg lean pork shoulder, cut into 3cm chunks
4 tbsp kecap manis (I use Conimex brand which is a Dutch Indonesian brand.)
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
3 tbsp Tamarind water
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3-4 medium-hot chillies, seeded and chopped
4 red bird's eye chillies, left whole
500 ml Asian chicken stock
Crisp fried shallots, to garnish


  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Add the shallots and fry until they are soft and richly golden. Add the crushed garlic, ginger and 1/2 tsp salt and cook for 1 minute. Add the pork to the pan and fry for 2 minutes until lightly coloured. Add the kecap manis, dark soy sauce, tamarind water, pepper, chopped and whole chillies and stock. Leave to simmer, uncovered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring now and then towards the end of cooking, until the pork is tender.
  2. Lift the pork out of the sauce with a slotted spoon onto a plate. Boil the cooking liquid until it has reduced to a well-flavoured, slightly thicken, shiny, dark brown sauce. Season to taste with salt, return the pork to the pan and stir in.Spoon the pork onto a warmed serving plate, scatter with the crisp fried shallots and serve.

Malaysian Sambal Ikan Bilis Burger Recipe

'Burger Malaysia' is a popular miniature sized snack available in 'pasar malams' (night markets) in Malaysia.

The mini yeast buns are deep-fried and then filled with sambal ikan billis (dried anchovy sambal) and cucumber slices.

As much as I love these mini burgers, the deep-dried mini slider buns can get overly greasy and I have decided to make some with oven baked mini milk panini buns.

The sambal ikan billis can be made in advance and reheated or served at room temperature. They are perfect as finger / party food and ridiculously moreish.

'Burger Malaysia' Recipe
Makes 16


16 mini milk panini / slider buns (recipe follows)
Sambal ikan bilis (recipe follows)
cucumber slices


  1. Halve panini, top with a few slices of cucumbers.

2. Spread with sambal ikan bilis.

3. And sandwich together.

Mini Milk Panini / Slider Buns Recipe
(Adapted from Gourmet Traveller magazine May 2011 issue)
Makes 16


15 g dried yeast
625 g "00" flour
140 ml milk, plus extra for brushing
50 g caster sugar
125 g softened butter, coarsely chopped


  1. Stir yeast, 125 g flour and 150 ml water in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook to combine, cover and set aside until doubled in size (45 minutes - 1 hour). Add milk, sugar and remaining flour and mix on low speed until combined, then, while mixing, add butter a little at a time until incorporated. Cover and set aside until doubled in size (1 hour). Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knock back, then roll into 16 golf-ball-sized pieces and place on oven trays lined with baking paper (leaving 3cm between each), cover and set aside until doubled in size (1 hour).
  2. Preheat oven to 180C. Brush top of panini with milk and bake, swapping trays halfway through cooking, until golden and cooked through (12-15 minutes). Set aside to cool.

Sambal Ikan Bilis (Dried Anchovy Sambal) Recipe


1/2 cup dried anchovies (ikan bilis), rinsed and dried with paper towel
4 fresh red chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped
8 (100 g) small Asian shallots
3 garlic
1/2 tbsp shrimp paste, toasted
2 candlenuts or macadamia nuts
4 tbsp oil
1 tbsp tamarind pulp + 1/2 cup water
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 small brown onion, thinly sliced


  1. Deep fry the ikan bilis in hot oil until golden brown and crisp.
  2. Mix the tamarind pulp with water. Squeeze out the tamarind juice from the pulp and discard the seeds. Strain through a fine sieve. Set aside until needed.
  3. Combine fresh red chilli, bird's eye chilli, shallots, garlic, shrimp paste and candlenuts together in a mortar and pestle or a food process and pound or whiz until it forms a fine paste.
  4. Heat oil in a wok, add the paste and fry under low heat until it's aromatic, about 8-10 minutes.
  5. Add the tamarind juice to the paste together with sugar and salt. Stir and mix well.
  6. Add brown onion and continue to stir fry until the onion has soften a little but still have slight texture, around 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add the ikan bilis and give it a good stir. This sambal can be served hot or room temperature.

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Do not assume all Malaysians love their spicy food. Many do not. For example, Mrs Perchong is the only one among her 6 siblings who has a penchant for spicy food. Her working with many Malay colleagues is the main factor that contributed to her liking of cooking with spices and chilli. I was hooked to spicy food from a young age because of her.

Drunken Cherry and Shaved Dark Chocolate Crostata

I love the rustic and yet festive look of this crostata - especially the effect given by the cornmeal (polenta) in the pastry. This pastry recipe is adapted from a very old cookbook that I purchased 12 years ago in Malaysia. I have bookmarked this recipe a long time ago and this is the perfect opportunity for me to finally make it.

Japanese Spinach Ohitashi; Spice Temple's Chinese Stir-Fried Pork with Green Onions; Thai Pork Pad Kra Pao with Fried Egg

It's always a joy to cook Asian dishes in Australia. Australia has the freshest and best produce and by combining that produce with Asian cooking techniques we are having the best of both worlds.

Chocolate Panna Cotta with Lavender Cream

I love the smell of lavender but I don't often work with it as a dessert ingredient. It's a tricky ingredient to work with because lavender can easily overpower a dessert, resulting in the dessert tasting and smelling like a potpourri.