This iconic dessert certainly needs no introduction, as it’s the stuff of happy childhood memories and almost always a decadent ending to wrap up a good old South African braai or Sunday lunch. Interestingly also known as a “Transkei mud pie”, Peppermint Crisp tart is a simple to make yet decadent crowd-pleaser of a pudding that has truly earned its place in the hearts (and stomachs!) of South Africans, making it a true culinary classic.
The origins of Peppermint Crisp tart
The first official version of this pudding can be traced back to the manufacturers of Orley Whip, the flagship non-dairy cream product from Orley Foods (now Kerry). The package insert featured the recipe for this simple and foolproof dessert starring another truly South African ingredient – the Peppermint Crisp chocolate bar. Created right here in SA, Peppermint Crisp itself is another firm favourite sweet treat that evokes nostalgia in anyone who grew up with it. In Apples for Jam, Tessa Kiros fondly remembers biting off the ends of Peppermint Crisp chocolate and drinking milk through the luminous green mint crystal tubes, something that is bound to resonate with many South Africans.
Add to the mix rich and indulgent Caramel Treat (caramelised condensed milk) and coconut-flavoured Tennis biscuits, and the end result is a rich yet not overly sweet pudding that will have everyone licking their plates clean, every time. Most recipes today feature whipped cream, but for purists Orley Whip is still the ingredient of choice. Here are some tips on what it takes to turn out the perfect pudding to end your Heritage Day celebrations.
Tips and tricks to perfect Peppermint Crisp tart
- For best results, prepare your Peppermint Crisp tart a day ahead of time, giving it enough time to set properly overnight in the fridge. If you are in a hurry, four hours in the freezer should work as well, and dipping the Tennis biscuits in water or milk before assembling will help them soften nicely with the reduced setting time.
- You’re aiming for at least two layers, but you can naturally make as many as you want to, depending on the size of your dish and the amount of filling you have to work with.
- Use a clear glass dessert dish to show off the luscious layers – before it’s devoured.
- If you choose not to go with the Orley Whip, substitute with whipping or double cream (containing at least 30% fat, otherwise it will not whip up stiffly enough).
- Do not overwhip your cream – you don’t want to end up with butter! Aim for stiff peaks, where the cream stays on the whisk when it’s lifted.
- Mixing the caramel to a smooth consistency in a separate bowl makes it easier to incorporate into the whipped cream without getting any lumps.
- Gently fold the caramel and grated chocolate into the whipped cream, to keep the mixture as light and airy as possible. This will guarantee the desired pillowy, fluffy pudding that everyone loves.
- Prefer a stronger peppermint kick? And a teaspoon or two of peppermint extract to the whipped cream and caramel mixture.
- Crush some extra biscuits to sprinkle on top, in addition to the chocolate, for some added crunch and texture.
- Expats overseas might struggle to get hold of original Peppermint Crisp chocolate, so in a pinch, mint Aero or Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Mint Crisp slabs will also work well.