For a bit of history on this tasty dessert:
Before the Suez Canal was built, all ships travelling east to the spice islands of what is now Indonesia had to sail round the tip of South Africa. The Dutch and their East India Company were a force to be reckoned with along the spice route for a large part of the 17th century, and South Africa was a convenient stopping place on the long journey from Europe to Asia.
The first permanent Dutch settlement was established at the Cape of Good Hope around the middle of the century. The cinnamon used in this recipe would have been imported from Indonesia; and the milk would have come from the increasing number of Dutch farms that sprang up around the Cape to supply the Dutch ships and their scurvy-ridden crews with fresh vegetables, meat and dairy products.
Extract taken from an article by Cecily Layzell on Suite101.com
I'm happy to say that for the first time I have made a successfull melktert! This is with thanks to a new recipe I tried that I adapted from here. However, I used my own shortcrust pastry recipe which I'll share with you too. If you're not up to making your own pastry, just buy those ready made pastry cases or bake a ready-rolled shortcrust pastry from the supermarket... but give pastry making a go, it's fun! Just remember to keep all your ingredients as cold as possible, and it will help if you have a blender or mixer.
I'm also dedicating this recipe specially to my blog friend Ivy from Little Ivy cakes... she always does great recipes on her blog and loves trying new things, so this one is for you Ivy - I hope you get a chance to try this one yourself one day.
This recipe is enough to make 2 tarts.
Sweet shortcrust pastry
- 200g unsalted butter (cold)
- 300g plain flour (I put mine in the freezer for 20 minutes on a hot day)
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
- 2 small chilled eggs beaten
Butter two pie/tart dishes. Now roll the two discs out to about 3- 5mm thickness or to fit the dishes. Once the dough is in, prick liberally with a fork to prevent the pastry rising. Put some parchment paper and beans inside to blind bake the crust.
For the Filling
- 4 1/2 cups milk
- 2 1/2 tablespoons of corn flour
- 2 1/2 tablespoons of flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter
- cinnamon to sprinkle over the top
Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl, and then slowly add the dry ingredients whilst whisking.
Bring the milk to boil in a large saucepan, then remove the milk from the heat and add the mixed ingredients slowly into the milk whilst stirring to avoid lumps. Turn the stove top down low, and return the saucepan on the stove and slowly boil, stirring until the mixture has thickened - do not be tempted to remove from the heat before the mixture has thickened to a thick custard consistency or the filling wont set. Remove from the stove again, and add the butter and the vanilla. Pour the mixture into the two pastry cases whilst the mixture is still hot. Note: This tart does not get baked again, the heating of the milky filling is sufficient for the tart to set.
Allow to cool, cover with clingfilm and put the tarts in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours. Once the tart filling has set, sprinkle liberally with ground cinnamon. Serve cold on it's own or with fresh berries as a dessert, or enjoy it as a teatime treat!
And now I have to show you my poppies that I have grown from seed... I am so excited that they have opened! They are Laura Ashley seeds, and I was expecting them to be more pink than dark purple, but I still think they are gorgeous! I'd send you all some seeds if I could. Well, actually, if any of you do really do want some seeds, leave me a comment before next Sunday saying you've emailed me, then email me with your address at laundrybasketcase @ rocketmail .com (remove spaces) and I will try and collect some when the pods have dried in the autumn and post them to you with instructions how to grow. I can't guarantee they'll be exactly the same, because the bees might be cross-pollinating them, but it' worth a try.
Have a great week!