Sticky koesisters, authentic Cape Malay curry and gorgeous harbour views
Heritage Day recipe
Amarula-mousse tart with gooseberry coulis
When I was first asked to create an Amarula-inspired Heritage Day dish, it was with an air of childlike excitement that I accepted the task. I have always been an avid lover of food, and the opportunity to create a dish unique to my background and reflective of my personality seemed like quite the adventure.
From there - and pretty much whenever I am in need of inspiration -I returned to my roots. As Marcus Garvey once said: ‘A person without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.’
And with my roots firmly entrenched in family memory, I thought back to my childhood. Some of my fondest memories include watching my grandmother whipping up delicious koeksisters, vetkoek and melktert in her quaint Nylstroom kitchen – she always seemed happiest when getting elbow-deep into her mixing bowls.
You see, my grandmother was quite the baker, and in all honesty, no one south of the Equator matched her ability to create first-rate sweets. So, in homage to her – the clear inspiration behind my love for food - I decided to create a variation on one of her signature dishes: the humble melktert.
The melktert was introduced to us by the Dutch milk farmers who settled the Cape of Good Hope around the middle of the century. The Javanese slaves (today known as the Cape Malay) were masters of spices and introduced the cinnamon used in these traditional Dutch tarts. Thus, just as our rainbow nation is a melting pot of various elements taken from different cultures, my dish looks to bring together ingredients engrained in multiple heritages to make for a proudly South African product. My version of the melktert is extremely easy to reproduce; it requires no baking, and you only need a few ingredients to put it all together.
Not to mention, once done, it’s just as easy to enjoy.
Whether it’s after a hard day of sunbathing at Clifton or post gallivanting up the side of Table Mountain, the Amarula mousse tart is best served after a heady few hours spent conquering our stunning South African countryside.
Though if I had it my way, and in my opinion, there’s no better way to start creating your own memories than by combining a slice of Amarula mousse tart with a cup of Rooibos tea, a perfect Capetonian sunset and, of course, the company of friends and family.
For the base
- 150g digestive biscuits
- 3 tablespoons soft butter
For the filling
- 3 cups white marshmallows
- ½ cup full cream milk
- ½ cup of Amarula
- 1 ½ cups of cream
- 1 loose-bottomed cake pan (23cm)
Place the digestive biscuits in a food processor and blitz until you create a fine crumb. Alternatively, place the biscuits in a plastic bag, and roll with a rolling pin to form a fine crumb. Add the butter and combine until the mixture starts to clump together.
Press the mixture into a high-sided cake pan, making a smooth base with your hands or the back of a spoon. Put into the refrigerator to chill and harden.
Melt the marshmallows in a saucepan over a low heat along with the milk. Once the milk starts to foam (not boil), take the saucepan off the heat and keep stirring until the marshmallows blend into the milk to make a smooth mixture.
Pour the mixture out of the saucepan into a heatproof bowl, then whisk in the Amarula. Leave until cool.
In a medium bowl, whisk the cream until it starts to hold soft peaks then, still whisking, add the cooled marshmallow mixture. This filling should be thick but still soft, so that it will eventually drop easily out of the bowl into the chilled base.
Spread the filling into the chilled base, swirling it about with a spatula to fill evenly. Put the Amarula tart in the refrigerator, covered, to chill for a minimum of 4 hours. If you can leave to chill overnight, it’s best; otherwise, at least leave to chill until firm.
To decorate the tart, place a few gooseberries on the top, and add a few shards of spun sugar. You can even add a few drops of the gooseberry coulis at the end.
For the gooseberry coulis
* 300g fresh gooseberries
* 2 tablespoons sugar
Puree the gooseberries with the sugar in a blender or food processor. Push the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Serving suggestion: Once the coulis is cooled, pour over the Amarula-mousse tart. Enjoy with a cup of strongly brewed Rooibos tea, a beautiful Capetonian sunset, and plenty of family and friends.
By Adri de Kock