South Africa Celebrates National Milk Tart Day

On the 27th of February every year, South Africans come together to celebrate a traditional dessert loved and enjoyed by many – the Milk Tart or “Melktert”. National Milk Tart Day also serves to unify all South Africans through nostalgic memories of baking milk tart and sharing time with family.

This is according to Michael van Niekerk, founder and Director of Deeghuys – the global pioneer in frozen convenience baking – who says the delicious teatime treat is a ‘national treasure’ and is often available at every bake sale, home industry, supermarket or bakery around the country. “Known for its light texture and strong milk flavour, traditional milk tart is typically made up of a sweet patsy crust with a creamy filling.”

National Milk Tart Day was first started in 2013 by Weg Magazine in collaboration with Ladysmith Botter, with the aim of creating recognition for this relatively affordable but tasty dessert.

Some historians believe that the original milk tart recipe can be traced back to a dish described by Thomas van der Noot in his recipe book created in 1510 “Een notabel boexcken van cokeryen” (A Notable Book of Cookery), says van Niekerk. “It is thought to have been created by the Dutch as a result of the establishment of the Dutch East India Company in Cape Town in 1652, which was used as a resting point for ships along the Netherlands-Indonesia route. Cinnamon was brought to the Cape via the European and South East Asian ships and was combined with the fresh dairy available from the Cape Colony farms to create this delicious dessert.”

There are some cultures that have similar desserts, such as the traditional Greek Galaktoboureko, Spanish Leche Frita, Italian Panna Cotta, traditional Portuguese custard tart (Pastéis de nata) and the Chinese egg tart (dan ta). “However, nothing tastes quite like home like a local milk tart,” says van Niekerk.

In order to further celebrate the milk tart, Deeghuys has been running a competition to find South Africa’s Milk Tart Champion for 2017. The winner of the competition will have their milk tart recipe sold in all Deeghuys stores countrywide and will receive naming rights and royalties for every tart purchased.

Two semi-final events will be held in Pretoria and Cape Town on 25 February with 10 semi-finalists in each region required to present their tarts to judges for tasting. Four finalists will then be invited to a black tie ‘bake-off’ to be held in Cape Town on 16 March where the ultimate milk tart champion for 2017 will be crowned.

The whole purpose behind Deeghuys is to make the lives of our customers easier by providing a convenient way for them to have high quality, freshly baked food at home, says van Niekerk. “We specialise in creating and selling a wide range of frozen dough-based food products, which customers can then bake conveniently in the comfort of their own home.”

Visit for more information about the competition.