Deep Dish Coconut Condensed Milk Tart

Words: Beer Country

When it comes to South African desserts, the milk tart reigns supreme. It’s deceptively simple to make but it takes a little finesse to get right. This version is based on mom’s recipe but with a few twists and turns to kick things up a notch. We’ve added condensed milk because who doesn’t like condensed milk? Plus we’ve sprinkled the top with toasted coconut for a little crunch (this is optional of course if you’re a purist). It’s a twist on a classic but it’s still most definitely a good ol’ milk tart.


Serves: 6-8
Difficulty: medium
Prep time: 45 minutes (plus overnight setting time)
Cooking time: 45 minutes

You’ll need a 26 cm springform cake tin.

The Biscuit Base

2 packets (400 g) Tennis biscuits
2 tsp (10 ml) cinnamon
200 g butter, melted

The Egg Mix

2 C (500 ml) fresh full cream milk
6 heaped Tbsp cake flour
6 heaped Tbsp Maizena (cornflour)
2 tsp (10 ml) good quality vanilla essence
6 large eggs

The Filling

2 x (385 g) tins condensed milk
4 C (1 litre)  full cream milk
2 Tbsp (30 ml) butter

To Serve 

cinnamon, for sprinkling
½ C (125 g) coconut flakes, toasted (optional)

The Biscuit Base

Using a food processor or hand blender, blitz the biscuits to a fine crumb. Add the cinnamon and melted butter and mix with a spoon until combined. Place half of the biscuit crumbs onto the base of a 26 cm springform pan and evenly cover the base of the pan. Use a tumbler glass to press and compact the crumbs into place. Then use the other half of the mix around the side of the tin to create an even wall around the pan. Cover the entire wall of the pan. Place the pan into the fridge for 30 minutes to set. Blind bake the base for 8 minutes at 180 °C then remove and allow to cool completely. (Note: you can use a smaller springform tin – you may just have a little extra filling at the end – the easy solution is to set it in a separate dish and eat when no-ones looking).

The Egg Mix

Place the milk, cake flour, cornflour and vanilla essence (i.e. everything except the eggs), into a large bowl. Blitz with a hand blender until well combined. Make sure that there are no lumps or you will have lumpy milk tart. The eggs will be added just before the mixture is added to the filling mixture. For now, set aside until needed.

The Filling

Place the condensed milk, milk and butter for the filling into a large saucepan over medium heat. Heat the mixture very slowly while stirring, until it reaches boiling point. The easiest way to monitor the temperature is with a digital thermometer if you have one. As soon as the mixture starts to boil remove the saucepan from the heat.

Now add the eggs to the mix of flour and milk (the egg mix above) and whisk well to combine.

Remove from the heat and slowly add the egg mix to the filling milk, constantly whisking to combine. Once all of the egg mix is incorporated, return the saucepan to the heat. Whisk the mixture constantly as it heats up. The mixture will start to slowly thicken from the 70 º C mark. Cook the mixture until you have a semi-thick but still pourable custard. Do not let the temperature go above 80 º C or the custard will scramble – cook it slowly, it’s really important to take your time. 

Immediately pour the custard into the biscuit base and smooth it out with the back of a spoon. Dust with cinnamon and leave to cool completely before lightly covering with foil and placing in the fridge. Allow the tart to set overnight. Note: You may find that there is a little extra filling, especially if your springform tin is a little smaller  – our advice is to simply set the balance of the filling in a separate dish and tuck in… for quality control purposes of course.

To Serve

Garnish with toasted coconut and serve.

Check out our other Heritage classics here: Vetkoek Steak Sliders | Peri Peri Chicken Livers | Old School Coke Ribs | Facebook


  1. I made this recipe a couple of days ago, and thought I’d let you know my comments:
    The coconut in the title is a little misleading, I would expect more than just a light sprinkle of coconut in that tart, i.e. it should be a major ingredient, not just an afterthought
    The instructions have thrown up a question : what is the reason that you not add the eggs to the flour mix at the beginning?
    The custard turned out to be quite stodgy when it was cold -I imagine that the recipe could do with less flour. By the way, with that much flour in it, the custard will not curdle or scamble if it boils, there’s no chance!

    • Hi Andreas,

      The coconut also refers to the coconut in the tennis biscuit base, so not just the sprinkling on top. Every recipe is developed differently and this is the way that we have found works best for this one. Thanks for your feedback though.

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