Sunday, 24 February 2013

Linda's milk tart

After two perfect years living with Mama and Bumps, my Dad decided it was time for me to join him in South Africa. Leaving farm life and saying goodbye to my grandparents was a time of intense sorrow for me. Months passed in between my visits to them, but this was eased with their annual trip to South Africa.

They'd pack up the grey Opel  with the red leather seats, and tootle 1 700 kms from Salisbury to Johannesburg.  Mama would do most of the driving - not necessarily because of Bumps' prosthetic leg - more likely because she preferred to be behind the wheel and in charge!

It was during one of these trips, that Mama came to know our neighbour - Linda.  Linda was Afrikaans and spoke little English.  Mama of course only ever spoke the Queen's language - so how they communicated was interesting to say the least!

Linda made the most divine milk tart - or melk tert as it's known in South Africa.  Mama loved the dessert and asked Linda for the recipe.  But due to the language barrier - and no-one in my family really understanding Afrikaans, the only way the recipe exchange took place is by Linda making the tart and Mama watching and taking notes. 

Here's a photo of her hand written recipe, taken from the recipe book she left me.

The delicious creamy tart, with a cinnamon dust topping is sublime either warm or cold. You wont find a SAffer (South African) who does not know the traditional melk tert.

Here is Linda's recipe... YUM


2 dessert spoons melted butter
1 cup sugar (I use brown sugar for the gorgeous caramel flavour)
3 eggs separated
1 cup flour
1 level t-spoon baking powder
1 t-spoon vanilla essence
4 cups full fat milk (I substitute 1 cup for a cup of cream)
Ground cinnamon and nutmeg for the top

How to make:

Bet egg whites until stiff.
Beat the egg yolks and sugar until creamy and double in volume.  Add the melted butter.
Add the vanilla essence to the milk and sift the flour and baking powder.  Add milk and flour alternately to the egg mixture.
Fold in the egg white, pour into a greased Pyrex dish and sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg over top.
Bake for 40 minutes on 180 degrees. (I bake in a bain marie)

Utterly delicious.

For something aittle different...I heat the milk and soak two rooibos tea bags in it for a delicious flavour - you can use Earl Grey tea bags if you like.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Valentine's cake

The week before Valentine's Day meant helping Mama bake pre-ordered raspberry cakes. Rich dark chocolate cakes with a white topping, raspberry filling and little homemade chocolate hearts as decoration. Her cakes were always in demand, and in between her marmalade business and chocolate fondant orders, her celebration cakes were a hot topic in the Borrowdale community.

On a large white painted kitchen table (the same one my Dad was born under during WW2), Mama would lay out a treasure trove of delicious ingredients like fresh eggs collected from the chicken huts that morning, fresh farm butter, chopped dark chocolate and a large bowl of home made raspberry jam-like sauce.

Squashed in between the white table and the kitchen sink, was a tall white bar stool.  And on this I would perch.  My bare feet swinging back and forwards as I waited my calling as the raspberry jam-like dispenser. Onto cooled rounds of dark chocolate cake, I'd spoon exactly two dessert spoons of the liquid ruby syrup. A second round of chocolate cake, sandwiched in the sweet, tart raspberry centre.

With a dramatic flourish, Mama would sprinkle silver dragees on the cloudy white lemon cream cheese topping, and gently place the home made chocolate hearts 'just so'.

Biting into a silver forkful of moist, rich and tangy lusciously chocolate raspberry cake...luxurious lemon flavoured cream cheese frosting squishing out the corners of my mouth - yum.

Mama's Valentine's Day cake

What you need

For the cake
  • 200 grams best quality dark chocolate, melted
  • 180 grams cake flour
  • 250 grams butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 300 grams dark brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 100 mls buttermilk

x 2 round cake tins

Best quality raspberry jam

For the cream cheese frosting
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 200 grams icing sugar
  • 250 grams cream cheese

How to make
  • Heat oven to 180 degrees, grease the two baking tins.
  • Beat sugar and butter together until pale, add eggs one at a time.
  • Add in all other ingredients and mix lightly with a metal spoon and pour equal amounts into the 2 greased baking tins.
  • Bake for 40 minutes, or until  skewer comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool, then spread a generous amount of raspberry jam on the bottom layer, place top layer on top.
  • Mix the cream cheese, icing sugar and zest of the lemon until smooth, spread over the top of the cakes and decorate with chocolate hearts and fresh raspberries.