South African Cooking in Hong Kong

South African Cooking in Hong Kong

Bringing a little Africa to my home in the East

LeandiB  LeandiB  on 28 Feb '15

I have been living in Hong Kong for the last 6 months. It has become my home for the foreseeable future and I am very happy about this. As a foodie I was most excited by Hong Kong's culinary seen when we decided to make the move and I have not been disappointed, however like the saying goes you don't know what you've got 'til its gone. As amazing as the local cuisine is and as stimulated as my palate is on a daily basis I sometimes find myself really missing the food I grew up with. Now, if you know anything about South Africa you'll know that it is an extremely culturally diverse nation (11 official languages for example). So navigating South African food can be very confusing.

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I, myself grew up in the Caucasian culture in South Africa known as the "Afrikaner". Now, I would definitely not consider myself a typical "Afrikaner" but most of the cooking skills that have been passed on to me by my grandmothers and mother come from this heritage- greatly influenced by the Dutch and Malay colonies. (Very interesting heritage to read more about). As I sit here writing this post I miss one South African dish in particular, the Milktart (or Melktert in Afrikaans). Distant cousin of dishes such as the Jewish Custard Tart, the French Mille-feuille or even Hong Kong's famous egg-tarts, the milktart has become synonymous with South African cooking.  Today is national Milktart day in South Africa and as such I have decided to share a simple recipe:

(I apologise for the state of my baking equipment, I haven't had time to stock up on anything yet)

Pastry base:

62.5 g Butter

30 ml Sugar (white)

1/2 Egg

250 ml All-purpose flour

5 ml Baking Powder

Pinch of salt

Melt the butter and allow to cool slightly. Whisk in the egg and sugar.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, add to the egg mixture and mix lightly until the mixture holds together.

Press into a prepared pie pan, dock the pastry and put in the fridge. 


750 ml Milk (Full cream)

25 g Butter

2 Eggs

125 ml Sugar (white)

75 ml Cornstarch

62.5 ml All-purpose flour

Pinch of salt

2.5 ml Vanilla Extract

Cinnamon (fine)

Preheat oven to 180°C

Heat the milk and butter in a heavy-bottom pan on the stove.

In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and sugar together until ribbon-stage (it should be light in colour and slightly spongy)

Add the cornstarch, flour, salt and vanilla essence to the egg mixture and mix well.

Temper the egg mixture with the hot milk mixture (add a little of the hot milk to the egg mixture while stirring continually). Then add the mixture back into the pot with the rest of the milk.

Place back of the heat and whisk quickly until the mixture comes to a boil. Cook for about 2 minutes. 

Switch the stove off, cover the pot and leave to stand.

After 5 minutes pour the warm mixture into the prepared pastry shell. 

Sprinkle generously with cinnamon.

Bake for +/- 20 minutes. 

Can be served hot or cold.


Happy National Milktart day South Africa!



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