A slice of hope
Walking in the MTR station in Kowloon Bay I spot the familiar pie and tart shop I have walked past a million times before. I stop to check the display and lo and behold I spot a familiar name, milktart! Convincing myself that it’s the real thing (sans cinnamon) I hastily buy two and hurry home to add cinnamon and enjoy with a cup of tea. Take a big bite and cue the disappointment. Not because this milktart was not good but it was just that, a milk tart- two words *sobs quietly*. I had hoped that it would taste just like the delicious treats you could buy at the local tuisnywerheid (home industry store) back home but alas it was nowhere near what I had expected. I think in Hong Kong you have to learn early on to adapt your expectations in terms of your home’s cuisine. It’s hard though.
The expat life
As an expat, there are days when the longing is worst than others. Some days I’m fine with living on dim sum, char siu and choy sum but most days I still long for my mom’s leg of lamb, oxtail with stamp mielies, malva pudding and melktert. I’d like to think that I’ve brought all my South African culinary skills with me and I regularly cook recipes from home for my husband and I but some ingredients are unfortunately not that easy to find (bye bye peppermint crisp tart). Milktart, however, is entirely possible! This recipe is not mine from scratch, I have refined it over the years from a South African favourite called “Gert se wenner melkert” and adapted it a little to suit my taste and cooking style. It is very easy to make and is ready in a jiffy- ideal for when you have to make something to serve last-minute guests or as an easy dessert.
An easy to make milktart with condensed milk and digestive biscuits.
- 1/2 packet digestive biscuits
- 2 tbsp butter salted
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 can condensed milk
- 2 cans milk full cream
- 1/2 can water
- 6 tbsps corn flour
- 4 tbsps sugar white, granulated
- 3 eggs large
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 tsps cinnamon fine
1. For the crust: Melt the butter for the crust.
2. Mix the sugar into the crushed biscuits.
3. Add the melted butter to the crushed biscuits and press into a tart pan or a round pyrex dish.
4. For the filling: In a medium pot heat the milk, water and condensed milk over a medium heat, stirring until steam starts to rise from the pot.
5. Mix the cornflour and sugar with about 30ml of water to make a paste.
6. Add the cornflour mixture to the heated milk while constantly stirring.
7. Allow this mixture to simmer over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes until the mixture starts to thicken. Stir with a whisk to prevent lumps.
8. Remove the mixture from the heat and allow to cool for a couple of minutes.
9. Whisk the eggs with a fork and add to the thickened milk custard, stirring well with a whisk to make sure there are no lumps.
10. Add back to the heat and allow to come to a boil for a minute or two- take care not to burn the bottom.
11. Remove from the heat and quickly stir in the vanilla and tablespoon of butter.
12. Pour the mixture over the biscuit base and sprinkle the cinnamon over the top. Place in the refrigerator for an hour or two.
This filling can also be poured into a pre-prepared crust, just make sure it does not require baking.