For those less familiar with the more local side of Asian food, the egg tart is a delicious custard tart pastry, and is very popular in Hong Kong. Personally I prefer the buttery, crumbly shortcrust pastry, though you can also get egg tarts with a crispy, flaky puff pastry. The best bit though, has to be the golden yellow, sweet, creamy custard filling.
Since this is my first attempt at making egg tarts, I decided to only make my own shortcrust pastry and leave the puff pastry to the trusty shop bought frozen variety.
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius, and move your shelf to the lower third of the oven where the heat from the oven will reach your tarts quicker, giving them a brown crust more easily.
This is what you will need for the shortcrust pastry tart shells (makes about 8-10):
- 225g plain flour
- 125g butter, softened at room temperature
- 55g icing sugar
- 1 egg, whisked
- A dash of vanilla extract
- Cream butter with the sugar until the mixture is smooth, fluffy and light in colour.
- Add in the whisked egg, half at a time, over a low speed (I used an electric mixer). Add in the vanilla extract and mix well.
- Sift in your flour in batches, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl between each addition with a dough scraper or spatula. Combine well and knead into a dough. At this point the dough appeared quite soft and moist.
- Flour an area of work surface and also a rolling pin and roll out the dough to about 0.5cm thick, and using a cup or a cookie cutter about the same circumference of your tart tins, cut out discs from the dough and line your tart tins.
Now to the custard (enough to fill 19-20 tarts, so I cut out enough puff pastry discs to make enough tart shells to use up the custard):
- 3 eggs
- 110g caster sugar
- 225 hot water
- 85g evaporated milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Add the sugar into the hot water and stir until it is all dissolved.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg with evaporated milk.
- Pour the egg and evaporated milk mixture into the sugar water. Make sure you keep stirring or the heat from the water may start cooking the eggs. Mix well.
- Using a tea strainer/small sieve, sift the custard mixture into a teapot or into a container with a pouring spout to get rid of the foam. Pour into your prepared tart shells.
Now to the exciting bit…
Put your tarts onto a baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius. Keep an eye on them — when the crusts start turning slightly brown, reduce the oven temperature to 180 degrees Celsius and leave the oven door ajar, about 2-3 inches. This is so that the custard filling cooks without puffing up too much (or else they will sink a lot, leaving an ugly dented filling when they have cooled down!). I then baked the tarts for another 20-30 minutes. However, be aware of the fact that each oven behaves differently, I think my oven does not circulate heat very well, so from about 10-15 minutes on wards, keep an eye on your tarts. A good way of testing the filling is to put a toothpick or cocktail stick (short ones!) into the centre of the filling, If the toothpick/cocktail stick stands on its own without tipping over, then you’re good.
The finished product!
If you do decide to try this recipe out, I would recommend that you eat all of your egg tarts on the day of making. I have yet to crack the secret of making egg tarts that are still as crumbly/flaky the next day, any ideas would be welcome!