My grandmother had a secret recipe. She died with that secret recipe. No one knew that secret recipe… she thought.
Until the one day when aunt Johanna (a sister-in-law of hers) came to visit us on the farm for a week or two or maybe it was three. My dad, who never had milktart since the day his mom passed (because apparently only she knew how to make the perfect milktart), asked his aunt if she perhaps has a clue where he could find that recipe of his mom. Aunt Johanna burst out into laughter and said: “My dearest… that recipe is well known in the family, in fact, all of the sisters knows it off by heart!”
Long story short, my aunt Johanna taught my mom how to make it and my mom taught me. And this is from where I started to experiment with the Easy Rough Puff Pastry Recipe that I developed a couple of months ago. The original recipe (for the puff pastry) took 24 hours to complete, now darling… I can’t wait that long if I want a proper Coetzee-milktart. I did, however, change a few ingredients and methods, I guess it is a chef’s thing.
Please join me in remembrance of my grandma, Anna Elizabeth Coetzee (nee Pieterse).
Preheat your oven to 220°C and prepare 3 x 20cm round ovenproof dishes by rubbing it with butter or by spraying it with cooking spray.
Roll out the pastry dough to about 4mm thick. Place one of the tart dishes, upside down, onto the dough, and cut out the 3 rounds. Reserve the leftover dough to double line the edges of the dishes.
Roll each round out to about 2mm thick.
Line the ovenproof dishes with the rolled out rounds, let the dough hang over the sides, and neatly trim it using a sharp paring knife. Paint the edge with egg wash and add place the reserved, 4mm thick, strips of dough onto it.
Use a fork to prick the bottom of the shells and refrigerate the prepared shells until ready to use.
In a small mixing bowl, add the egg yolks and 60ml of the milk. Use a whisk to combine the ingredients. Add the maizena and whisk until smooth. Finally, add the cake flour and the salt. Whisk until smooth.
In a saucepan, heat the remaining 940ml of milk, sugar, butter, and vanilla until butter is melted and bring the mixture to just before the boiling stage.
Slowly pour the heated milk into the egg mixture while beating the egg mixture vigorously to prevent the eggs from curdling.
Pour this mixture back into the saucepan and place over moderate heat. Whisk continuously until the mixture has thickened and it is just starting to boil.
Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool for about 10 – 15 minutes.
While the mixture cools, beat the egg whites and creme of tartar to stiff peaks.
Add a third of the meringue to the cooled filling and mix it in.
Carefully fold the rest of the egg whites into the filling.
Pour the filling into the prepared shells and dust with ground cinnamon.
Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Lower the temperature to 200°C and bake a further 10 – 15 minutes
In a microwave-safe bowl, beat the milk, lemon juice and zest, eggs and vanilla until well combined.
Add the rest of the ingredients (except for the butter) and whisk until smooth.
Microwave the mixture on high for 4 – 6 minutes. Stop every minute and whisk the mixture to ensure that it is lump-free.
When thick and creamy, stop the microwave and beat in the butter.
Cover with cling film and immediately refrigerate to cool.
In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Heat over low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat to medium-high and allow the syrup to come to a boil.
In the meantime, add the egg whites to a medium-sized, heatproof bowl and mix (with a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment) until the whites are almost able to hold soft peaks.
Cook the syrup until it reaches 116°C, then take the pan off the heat and slowly drizzle the hot syrup into the bowl with the foamy egg whites, mixing continuously to prevent the eggs from scrambling.
Once all the syrup has been added, keep mixing until the bottom of the bowl feels cool to the touch and the meringue has cooled down to room temperature.
Use immediately or keep in the fridge (covered) until ready to use. It’s a very stable meringue, so it won’t start weeping, leaking or collapsing.
Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl.
Beat the egg, milk, water, oil, and lemon juice together.
Then add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk till smooth.
Allow the mixture to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Place a greased plate over a medium saucepan of boiling water and have a large lid handy to cover the pancakes when cooked.
Spray a medium-size frying pan with non-stick spray and then heat pan the pan over moderate heat.
Pour enough batter into the pan to form a thin layer. Fry until it is brown underneath. Shake and turn.
Stack pancakes on a plate and set aside until needed.
Continue until all the batter has been used.
Place a crêpe on a serving plate and lightly spread the lemon crème pâtissière over it. Stack another crêpe on top of it and spread again with the crème pâtissière. Repeat this process until all the crêpes are used.
Spread the Italian Meringue over the last crêpe and use a blow torch to give it that brownish look.