Tuesday, January 7, 2014

In Honour of Jacques Kallis: Melktert

South Africa may have won the Test series against India with their win in Durban at the end of December last year, but they also suffered possibly their biggest loss ever: Jacques Kallis. After an astounding career spanning 18 years Kallis has provided not only his nation with a cricketer to be proud of, but a cricketer the world can hold in awe and respect. The numbers speak for themselves.

Image from Zinara's Tumblr

Growing up, watching the Saffas play was always a source of frustration for me. And it was because of this one man: Jacques Kallis. It didn't seem to matter what our top bowlers (or batsmen) did, he would find a way to defy them and put his team in a strong position at the end of a day's play. Even when his form slumped, he was still formidable. It seemed that just his presence on the field was enough to make the Aussie boys look like silly schoolchildren. Sure, Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander are scary as hell, but they don't have the same feeling about them as Kallis does. It would be a lie to say I am happy to see him leave the International Test arena; I would have loved to have watch him play in Australia just one more time. 

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In honour of this great South African all-rounder,  I decided to make a South African milk tart, or melktert in Afrikaans. It is very Dutch, so I'm not sure whether or not you would call it a traditional recipe... but in today's post-colonisation world, it's hard to draw lines as to where 'traditional' begins and ends. Either way, it is good to eat and that is the most important thing. Much lighter than European or Chinese custard/egg tarts, it is unique in its milky taste.  It is absolutely delicious topped with berries and some whipped cream. 

My tart pan wasn't as wide and deep as the one used for the original recipe so I made another mini-tart with the leftover pastry, as well as a baked custard with the remaining filling.  I've always wanted to make baked custard so I unintentionally manged to kill two birds with one stone! 

Milk Tart (from Delicious Magazine, April 2006)


For the crust

250g plain flour
110g icing sugar, sifted
110g unsalted butter. chilled
1 egg

For the filling 

2 cups milk
1 cinnamon stick
2 eggs, serparated
1 Tbsp cornflour
5 Tbsp plain flour, sifted 
5 Tbsp caster sugar 
½ tsp baking powder
25g butter, softened 
½ Tbsp ground cinnamon 
1 Tbsp icing sugar, sifted


To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 180°C and lightly grease a 24cm loose-bottomed tart pan. Whiz flour, icing sugar and butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and continue to process just until the mixture forms a smooth ball. Cover it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface, then line the pan. Trim off any excess pastry, refrigerate for 10 minutes, line the tart pan with baking paper, fill with rice and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and weights and bake for a further 5 minutes.

To make the filling: Place the milk and cinnamon stick in a pan. Bring to scalding boil, remove from heat, then allow to infuse for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven to 170°C. Place yolks, flours, sugar and baking powder in a bowl, add a little infused milk, and stir to form a paste. Stir in the remaining milk, discard cinnamon, return the mixture to the pan over very low heat and cook for 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat, beat in butter, cover top with baking paper and cool.

Whisk eggwhites, then fold them into the custard. Pour the custard into the pastry case and bake for 25 minutes or until the filling is set and slightly puffed. Remove, cool slightly, and sift combined cinnamon and icing sugar over top. 

Serve with fruit and cream.

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Thank you for everything, Mr Kallis. It has been an absolute pleasure and an honour to have been able to watch you play. All the best for the future and I hope South Africa is able to manage without you being around the team... although I wouldn't mind if they let us beat them in the upcoming Test series!

- Matilda

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