Chinese Egg Tarts 蛋撻
By Ellen L.Published: 2016-01-05
Greetings for the New Year and hope that you all have had a great holiday season! I know that we've been really, really busy and have only now had a chance to breath a bit. So, in thinking of what to write about as the first post of this grand new year, I had the inspiration to bring in the year with a bit of sunshine and to me there is not a thing in the world that is as sunshiny and cheerful as the absolutely fabulously famous and wonderfully traditional Chinese Egg Tart, or 蛋撻! Why it's something that every Chinese kid grew up with, it's sorta programmed into our DNA or something. Egg tarts are the first 'desserts' I remember eating, my grubby little hand eagerly lifting up a tart from its big pink box, falling in finger lickin love from the first moment with that tender, sweet eggy custard and the cookie like crust. Ohh...just taking one luscious bite of an egg tart takes me right back to warm and fuzzy times...
You will start with the crust, of course. I was nervous about the egg tart crust, crusts very consistently being a weak point of mine (translation: pain in the b**t to make and not quite light and crustful enough results). But the crust recipe I used here turned out just about perfect. Easy to make, easy to roll out quite thinly and press into the tart molds. No need to handle extra delicately. And, best of all, it made for a tender but firm crust that was just purrrfect for the egg tarts. (I think it's the cake flour in the mix.) In fact I liked this thin, firm tasty crust so much and it was so easy peasy to make that I'm going to try it with my mascarpone strawberry tart and creme patissiere fruit tart.
Tip: You can make your own cake flour if need be: take 2 tbsps flour out of a
The custard part is basically just eggs, water, some sugar and evaporated milk. Just mix and it's ready to pour into your tart crusts. If you're thinking about using milk instead of evaporated milk, I wouldn't advise it as the evaporated milk has got an intense concentration of flavor that the egg tart needs. *But don't worry if evaporated milk is hard to find, you can easily make it yourself by gently heating twice the amount of milk needed over a low heat until 50% evaporated. Ta-da! Evaporated milk!
Tip: If buying evaporated milk, don't buy sweetened condensed milk, that is the wrong thing to use!
You won't need to bake these crusts first by themselves which is a great time saver. Just pour your custard mix straight into crust filled tart molds. Here I almost made a fatal mistake! DON'T pour your custard into the molds that are set out on your working table (as I did). Put your tart shells onto a baking tray, or better yet, on to your pulled out oven shelf before you pour the custard!! I very happily filled up all my tart molds and then discovered it was a nightmare to move them into the oven without spilling the custard all over the place. It took forever...sigh. But there you go, live and learn.
When you bake your egg tarts you will want to place them closer to the lower part of your oven, thus allowing the crusts to cook more while preventing the delicate egg custard from overcooking or burning. A really cool thing is that the custards will puff up as they bake, looking for all the world like a batch of golden eggs nesting in your oven. As it cools the puff goes away but you can still trace it from that little wrinkle around the edge of the golden yellow custard.
The best time to eat these egg tarts, of course, is fresh and hot, so get ready to be adored the moment these heavenly smelling treats come out of the oven! This little egg tart is one of those things that, if you spend a bit of time and effort to make it, will transform you into a domestic goddess of the most comforting and able sort from the moment you pull that tray of hot meltingly tender tarts out of the oven. Your friends and family will adore you, let me assure you. There is nothing in the world as comfortingly yummilicious as one of these sunshiny Chinese Egg Tarts hot and fresh from the oven!
Chinese Egg Tart Recipe 蛋撻
(makes approx. 18-20 tarts, adapted from recipe at christine's recipes here)
20 Egg Tart molds (2 3/4" or 7 cm diameter)
Crust1 1/2 cups plus 1 tbsp all purpose flour (200g)
3 heaped tbsp cake flour (25g)
9 tbsp butter, softened (128g)
1/2 cup icing sugar (60g)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup caster sugar (75g)
10 tbsp hot water (147ml)
1/3 cup evaporated milk (83 ml)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 392 F (200C).
If making your own evaporated milk for the custard, you should do this first (see instructions in post above*) and then allow the evaporated milk to cool down.
Cream butter with icing sugar until light yellow color and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla in and beat until incorporated. In separate bowl sift the two flours together. Add flour into butter mixture and mix until it comes together, then knead lightly a few times to form the dough.
Roll out to a bit less than 1/4" thick on a silicone mat if you've got one or else a lightly floured surface. (The thinner your crust, the more elegant your tarts shall be.) Using your egg tart molds as a guide, cut out round shape of dough 1/4" larger than your tart mold. Take your round piece of dough and center it into the tart mold, pressing in lightly with your thumb from bottom, then up the sides, turning the mold as you go to flatten the dough into the mold as much as possible. Pinch off any excess dough from the top.
For the custard, add your sugar to the hot water and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add in eggs and evaporated milk, vanilla extract and whisk until mixed. Try not to whisk too many bubbles into the custard. Scoop off any foam on top with a spoon.
Position your oven shelf in bottom third of your oven. Place tart molds onto your baking tray then onto your pulled out oven shelf (if you can, this is the best way to avoid spilling the custard), then pour the custard into your waiting crusts. Bake for around 10 mins or until you see the crusts become a slightly brown. Lower the heat to 355 F (180 C) and keep a close watch on your oven. When the egg tart custards puff up into domes, open the oven door an inch or two, then bake another 15 mins until the custard is set. You can test custard by gently shaking the tray. If not yet set the centers will quiver noticably.
Eat hot or let cool, it's up to you. To get the egg tarts out of the molds, use a pot holder to cover the tart and then flip the whole thing over. Take the mold away and reverse the now moldless egg tart quickly onto a plate. You can also use a piece of sliced bread instead of a pot holder to reverse the egg tarts onto, that is what they do in the bakeries in Hong Kong. Hope you enjoy these egg tarts!
More Traditional Chinese Desserts at The Hong Kong Cookery:
Tong Yuan Rice Dumpling 黑芝麻湯圓
Chinese New Year Cake Nian Gao 年糕