This tart used to be a staple in our family home. It was always baked in the same earthenware dish, and stood on a side counter covered in a doily. For the flies.
It was seldom the dessert or sweet after a particular meal, it’s purpose more of an afternoon snack (although I recall sneaking some for breakfast too, on more than one occasion). It was that special kind of treat that just gradually disappeared – no one ever saw anyone else standing there eating, but halfway through the day it was always quite apparent that only half of the tart was left.
The buttermilk lends a soft acidity and sourness that simultaneously keeps you coming back for more, doesn’t ruin your appetite and is immensely satisfying. I don’t know how long it keeps because its never gotten that far. It does fine outside the fridge (in mild weather), but maybe attains a little more sourness.
These first weeks of spring, it’s reminding me of the farm back home. The sharp light that’s deflected off the mountains, into our dining room, and through the kitchen. Jasmine is still flowering, that spring flower that sort of heralds spring but now the seasons are all muddled, more of an indicator of the end of winter.
What I do know is, when the jasmine is all dead, that sharp light becomes blindingly fierce, it gets too hot to sit in the dining room for several months, and its too late to make this tart.
Buttermilk Tart / Karringmelk Tert
(adapted from the Kook En Geniet, because SJA de Villiers knew everything)
Cream 20ml butter with 1.5 cups caster sugar. When well creamed add 4 egg yolks (reserve the whites), carry on beating. Now sift in 1 cup of flour and then slowly add 2 cups of buttermilk, and 2 cups of full cream milk. The mixture will be a very runny batter, but nonetheless, beat to stiff peak the remaining 4 egg whites and fold in with your whisk. Pour into a baking dish and bake for at least 40 minutes at 180ºC. It will soufflé quite nicely, but fall back once cooled. The wrinkled edge bits are best!