Saturday, October 04, 2008
The Milk Tart Calcium Solution
Baking often seems to inspire a blog post. Perhaps that’s why I’ve hardly posted recently – I just haven’t been baking apart from the daily bread, which has become so automatic that it no longer gets the blog juices flowing. Today, after I’d spent an hour in the spring sunshine (yes we have sun! at last!) pulling a pretty flowering weed out of the ‘lawn’, which looked far worse once divested of its spreading bushiness, I was finally inspired to get another batch of rusks baked.
The house was quiet, with the kids over at their aunt’s house, my husband and dogs doing something chemical to the pool to pull it out of its winter stupor. Kneading and rolling dough into balls induced a meditative state and led me on to using up some out of date milk on making a crustless milk tart.
Milk tart is one of the most traditional South African desserts. You’ll find it at every braai, bake sale, tea party, anywhere that friends bring along a dessert. This version is by far the easiest recipe there is for it and can be whizzed up in the food processor in no time at all. It does without the pastry base of the classic milk tart and is maybe a tad less creamy in texture, but it is incredibly moreish and all my kids love it. Plus it uses up milk that is on the turn and with the price of milk these days I hate to chuck it out, so making this makes me feel good.
Even better it solves the problem of how to get enough calcium into our son to meet anything like the daily recommended dose. He’s given up cereal at breakfast, opting for toast and if we’re lucky some orange juice. He doesn’t like drinking milk, has a few slivers of cheese in his school sandwich for lunch. He’ll sometimes finish supper with a bowl of yoghurt. I know there are plenty of calcium sources besides dairy: nuts and seeds, for instance, which he won’t eat at all; dark green vegetables, yeah right, broccoli a couple of times a week is his limit there; sardines, no way; eggs yuk…
So as I broke the eggs into the food processor into the milk and butter, my eyes weren’t seeing the ingredients – they were looking at a pulsing headline in neon – CALCIUM FOOD SOURCE!!
Here is something that he’ll happily eat and get some nutrients in to him. I can bake and feel like I’m doing my job as a mother. Maybe our slight, slim boy has a chance of growing up big and strong after all … though if I produced it every day, I’m sure he’d go off it soon enough.
I posted this recipe about a year ago, but I’ll repeat it here just in case you too need a way to get some dairy into your family or maybe even just because it’s easy to bake and delicious!
Crustless Milk Tart Recipe
¾ cup / 185ml self-raising flour
2 cups / 500ml milk
¾ cup / 185 ml sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 oz / 25g melted butter
½ tsp cinnamon
Put all the ingredients together into a bowl or food processor and beat to a smooth batter. Pour into a buttered pie dish (approximately 23cm/9" in diameter, but it doesn't matter if it's not exact,the finished tart will just be either a bit deeper or shallower). Sprinkle the cinnamon over the top. Bake for 45 minutes at 175C / 350F. Serve warm or cold. It sinks and becomes denser as it cools. If you eat it hot you'll need a spoon to scoop up the soft custardy tart but cold you can pick up the slices in your hand, if it hasn't vanished long before then.
Having said all that I just Googled calcium food sources and found a chart that tells me that baked beans are a good source of calcium. Phew – he loves baked beans, now I can relax!