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Melktert ice cream

Melktert ice cream

This melktert ice cream is an unorthodox way to present the flavours of this iconic dish. Melktert ice cream combines the warm notes of spices with the coldness of the ice cream for something familiar yet unique.

Melktert is the Afrikaans word for “milk tart” and consists of a sweet pastry crust filled with a custard made from eggs, flour, milk and sugar. Although melktert is considered an early South African dish, its true origins are international. The French Huguenots supplied the puff-pastry for the crust. The Dutch added the flour and almond flavour to an existing Roman egg-and-milk custard. The Cape colony added spices such as cinnamon and citrus such as naartjie peel. Almond essence replaced the almonds.

The addition of a shortcrust disk and berry compote here is optional, but helps to give the dish some texture and cuts the richness. This ice cream also combines well with “tennis biscuits” to make frozen dessert sandwiches. It is a fun, modern way to serve a traditional classic.

Melktert ice cream

Recipe by christiekeulderCourse: DessertCuisine: South African, NamibianDifficulty: Moderate


Prep time


Cooking time



This recipe converts the distinctive, comforting flavours of the iconic melktert, or milktart, into an ice cream. It is great by itself or as filling for a dessert ice cream.


  • 1 liter full cream milk

  • 180 millilitres cream

  • 2 tablespoons skim milk powder

  • 3 black cardamom pods

  • 1 stick cinnamon

  • 6 egg yolks

  • 250 grams sugar

  • 1 tablespoon naartjie zest

  • shortcrust pastry

  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar

  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon, ground


  • Roll out the pastry till quite thin. Use a cookie cutter to cut out the required number of biscuits (one per serving). Transfer to a silicone pad or baking tray lined with baking paper. Prick holes in the biscuits with a fork. Mix the cinnamon and caster sugar and sieve over the biscuits. Place in an oven pre-heated to 180℃. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the biscuits are only lightly browned.
  • Combine the milk, milk powder and cream in a saucepan. Add the naartjie zest and spices and bring to a simmer then remove from heat. Combine the egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl. Whisk until well combined.
  • Add a little of the warm milk and cream mixture to the yolk and sugar and stir to prevent the yolk from curdling. Continue in this manner until all the milk and cream are incorporated. Return the incorporated mixture to the saucepan and cook, whilst stirring, over medium heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat.
  • Place a clean mixing bowl in an ice bath. Strain the custard mix through a fine sieve into the mixing bowl and allow to cool. Once cool, cover the mixing bowl with cling wrap and transfer to the refrigerator. Chill overnight or at least 3 to 4 hours. Churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Serve with a biscuit and some berry compote.

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