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Vegan Melktert

Unlike traditional melktert made with egg, in this version of Ouma Muis se Huis (Granny Mouse's House) the custard isn't baked after being poured into the pre-baked crust.


Vegan Melktert by Pieter KotzéFor the crust:
1¼ cups gluten-free flour
½ cup vegetable shortening or 1 stick Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
¼ tsp salt
Ice water (If needed; Earth Balance is so moist, no need to add water)
Additional gluten-free flour for rolling the dough
Vegetable cooking spray

For the custard:
3 cups coconut milk (can use full fat (not lite) coconut milk, figuring the fat would make the custard more creamy and thick)
3 sticks cinnamon, broken into pieces
1 whole nutmeg
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp corn starch
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ tsp salt
1/4 cup granulated tapioca (optional)
1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste or extract
Ground cinnamon for sprinkling over finished tart

Cooking Instructions

For the crust:
  • In the bowl of a food processor (or in a medium bowl using a pastry cutter), combine the flour, shortening or Earth Balance , sugar and salt. Pulse until the mixture comes together in large clumps and holds together when you press it between your fingers. Add ice water, a tablespoon at a time, if needed.
  • Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap or lightly greased parchment paper, cover with another sheet of plastic wrap or paper, and press it together to form a disc. Refrigerate, tightly wrapped, for at least an hour.
  • Heat oven to 200°:C (400°:F). Unwrap the dough and place it on a floured work surface. Roll it out into a circle to fit an 8- or 9-inch pie or tart pan, dusting the rolling pin and dough with additional flour as needed. Transfer the dough to the pie or tart pan and press it evenly into the bottom, edges and sides (dough may tend to crack and split at the edges when rolled and when transferred to the tart pan, but you can press the pieces back together much more easily than when working with dough containing gluten).
  • Bake the tart shell until golden brown, about 20 minutes, turning it as needed to ensure even browning if your oven has hot spots like mine (you won't need to use pie weights, nor prick the dough with a fork to prevent it from bubbling up. It also doesn't shrink like many doughs that contain gluten).
  • When done, remove the tart shell from the oven to a rack to cool while you make the custard filling.
For the custard:
  • In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan set over medium heat, bring 2½ cups of the coconut milk, the cinnamon sticks and nutmeg almost to a boil. Remove from heat to cool for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, whisk the corn starch, sugar, salt and tapioca (if using) in a medium bowl. Add the remaining frac12; cup of coconut milk and whisk or stir until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
  • Remove the cinnamon sticks and nutmeg from the warmed coconut milk, set the saucepan over medium low heat, and slowly whisk in the corn starch mixture. Cook, stirring constantly (and scraping the sides, corners and bottom of saucepan to prevent clumping), until the mixture is thickened, about 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla, and set aside to cool for about 30 minutes, until warm (you can speed this process by transferring the custard to a clean bowl and stirring it at regular intervals).
  • Pour the warm custard into the prepared tart shell, sprinkle with ground cinnamon to taste, and refrigerate, uncovered, until set. Slice carefully and serve.
Serves 8 people

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