Egg Custard Tarts.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

I often get cravings for certain foods. Curry puffs are a repeat offender, and egg tarts another. Green tea ice cream, escargot in garlic butter, and Hurricane's ribs follow close behind.
Of course these aren't necessarily the most accessible foods. It would be way more convenient if I had once-a-week cravings for, say, a ham and cheese toastie, or a Greek salad, to be a bit healthier.

But anyway. I had a huge craving for egg tarts the other day. So I had to make some. Egg tarts - dan tat - are delicious custard tarts that one usually gets at yum cha. It is different to the Portugese custard tart, which honestly just doesn't do it for me. The flaky outer pastry crust of a dan tat is crisp (and sometimes even biscuit-like) and contrasts beautifully with the soft, smooth egg custard inside. It is so good. 

Usually I would make the crust from scratch, but I was just so lazy/impatient that I used puff pastry instead. I'm including my normal flaky pastry recipe here as well though, for those of you who want the   crumbling, flaky crust that definitely makes the egg tart.

For the lazy shells:
  • 3 sheets frozen puff pastry, cut in half, thawed
  • 100 g butter, chopped roughly into small pieces and frozen 
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Sprinkle the bits of frozen butter onto a sheet of puff pastry. Top with another piece of pastry and  repeat, and then with the third piece. You should have three layers of pastry with little chunks of frozen butter. The frozen butter will melt during baking, which makes the pastry much flakier and thus more delicious. Repeat with the remaining three pieces of pastry.
  3. Roll up the pastry, length-wise, to make a thick log. Repeat with the second piece.
  4. Cut each log into 12 discs.
  5. Use your rolling pin to flatten the discs to about 1/2cm thickness and press into an oiled muffin pan (or mini tart pans).
  6. Fill with baking beans/rice/whatever weight you use, blind bake for 5 minutes, or until the pastry puffs up. 
For pastry shells:
  • 230g plain flour, sifted
  • 125g butter, at room temperature
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Cream the butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. The mixture should be very pale.
  2. Slowly add in the egg, beating slowly. 
  3. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated.
  4. Add in half the flour, making sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl. When everything is combined repeat with the remaining flour. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl. Knead a few times to form a ball.
  5. Roll out the dough to about 1/2 cm thickness and cut into rounds. Press into your muffin pan or mini tart pans. 
  6. Fill with baking beans/rice/whatever weight you use, blind bake for 5 minutes, or until the pastry puffs up. 
For the custard:
  • 110 g caster sugar
  • 225 g hot water
  • 3 eggs
  • 85 g condensed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Combine the sugar and water in a large bowl, and stir until the sugar has dissolved completely. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together the egg and the condensed milk until combined. Slowly pour in the sugar syrup, mixing well.
  3. Strain the custard through a fine sieve to get rid of lumps and foam. Pour into a jug and then fill each tart shell until it is almost full.
  4. Fill into the pastry cases and then bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the pastry edges are a little brown, and a toothpick inserted into the custard stands up on its own accord. 


xx gee


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