Unbaked milk tartlets (miniatuur melktertjies)

We love sharing milk tart with our friends, but because it’s a bit unpractical to take a milk tart to a finger food pot luck meal, Marietjie started filling small home-made tartlet cases with her standard milk tart filling. The plate is always empty when it’s time to go home.

Makes about 36 tartlets.


Tartlet cases

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon corn flour or custard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 125 gram butter
  • 2 cups (250 gram) flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg

Milk tart filling

  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 1/2 vanilla pod (highly recommended)
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence (if you don't use the vanilla pod)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons corn flour (or substitute with custard powder)
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 rounded tablespoon butter


Tartlet cases

  1. Mix sugar, butter and eggs until creamy.
  2. Mix remainder of the ingredients lightly into to the mixture. The dough should be stiff enough to roll out.
  3. Roll out the dough. It is easier to roll it out between two layers of cling wrap or baking paper.
  4. Grease your pans. Spray ‘n Cook non-stick cooking spray works best. We use 12-cup patty pans with rounded bottoms.
  5. Press individual circles of dough into each patty pan cup and prick the dough with a fork to prevent the dough from rising when baked, but be careful not to scratch your pans.
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes at 180°C until the tartlet cases are the colour of straw.

Milk tart filling

  1. Heat 1½ cups of milk with a cinnamon stick and vanilla pod, until it starts to boil. We heat our milk in the microwave oven, and cover the dish with cling wrap after it boiled to prevent a skin from forming on top.
  2. Leave the warm milk for at least 20 minutes to allow the cinnamon and vanilla flavours to infuse the milk.
  3. Beat eggs well.
  4. Dissolve the corn flour (or custard powder) in ½ cup of cold milk.
  5. Add eggs to the cold milk and whisk well until combined, without any lumps.
  6. Add sugar and salt and whisk well.
  7. Heat the cinnamon and vanilla infused milk to boiling point. Remove the cinnamon quill and vanilla pod.
  8. Split the vanilla pod lengthwise into two halves with a small sharp knife. Scrape the vanilla seeds into the milk.
  9. Slowly add the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture while whisking continuously, to slowly raise the temperature of the egg without cooking it. (If you increase the temperature of the egg mixture too rapidly, or add the egg mixture to the warm milk, the egg will start cooking and your filling will end up tasting like omelette.)
  10. Microwave the mixture for about 3 minutes in the microwave oven. It is important to remove and whisk every 30 seconds, to prevent it from cooking unevenly. The mixture should turn into thick custard with a smooth, creamy consistency. If it does become lumpy, you can sort it out using a food whiz or Bamix stick.
  11. Stir the butter into the warm mixture. If you did not use a real vanilla pod, you can now add the vanilla essence.
  12. Pour the custard into the pastry cases. Pinch a bit of ground cinnamon over each tartlet. Serve as soon as possible.


The cases can be made more than a week in advance, as they keep quite well in an airtight container. You can fill them with any sweet filling, such as the milk tart filling, or lemon curd or condensed mild or caramel.

You’ll end up with about 36 milk tartlets if you follow the recipe, but if you make less, you can store the left-over milk custard and serve it cold as a lovely dessert.