It’s my last week at my current job (woo hoo!) and a huge part of me is looking forward to lounging around, cooking, baking, more lounging, watching TV, more lounging around, eating and sleeping next week. I don’t expect to be hired again straight off the bat, so a little me time is in store. Yay! I have a number of things planned for me time. Baking – yes. TV watching – yes. Curb my impulsive Scoopon, Groupon purchases – yes, yes, yes! Between hubby and I, we have purchased five things via scoopon and groupon in the last month. It’s getting out of hand! Help me!
One of the scoopon deals is a 3-hour cupcake workshop – I’ll be sure to keep you updated on that. I’ve made cupcakes many times before but a proper class might be loads of fun! Can’t. Wait.
Today’s post is still on sweet bakes, but not the cake or frosting kind. Hong Kong style egg tarts. I’m not a big fan of egg custard tarts. I do enjoy one at the occasional yum cha lunches (dim sum for some of you) and once in a blue moon, I may just buy one from a chinese bakery. However I promised the hubs that I will bake him some egg tarts (about 3 weeks ago) and I finally fulfilled that promise. Egg tarts come in two different forms. One has a shortcrust butter pastry base and the other a more flaky puff pastry base. I don’t mind either – I’ve had really good versions of both before and I’ve had really bad versions as well.
I came across this post where a fellow blogger, Christine from Hong Kong had special requests to translate her Chinese recipes into English. That to me is a sign that the recipe must be a good one. And I’m glad she translated her recipe so I could give it a try. And I did. And it was good. Real good.
This is a shortcrust pastry style tart. A good egg tart to me has a buttery, slightly crumbly but firm tart base with a soft, just-set custard that is not too sweet or dense. If you over bake these tarts, it might be rock hard and yucky. If you under bake it, the insides including the custard may be too runny or not set properly. Christine had wonderful tips on how to bake the tarts to perfection. (I’ve included her tips below – if you do make them, follow the instructions!)
The tarts turned out beautifully. Buttery shortcrust pastry with just the right amount of crumble. The custard was perfect – not too sweet, just firm enough to hold its shape but still jelly-like, soft and creamy. I loved the taste so much, I broke my single egg tart consumption history and had two of them at one sitting! These tarts are best eaten freshly cooled from the oven. The twenty minute wait (for the tarts to cool) I made the hubby endure was quite torturous but he promptly inhaled the tarts soon after. Not a crumb left.
Thanks Christine for the recipe! And for adding to the inches on both of our waistlines.
HK STYLE EGG TARTS
Recipe from Christine’s Recipes
For the crust:
- 225 gm plain flour
- 125 gm butter
- 55 gm icing sugar
- 1 egg, whisked
- a dash of vanilla extract
Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer over medium speed until the mixture is smooth, fluffy and light in color. Add in whisked egg, half at a time, beat over low speed. Add vanilla extract, mix well.
Sift in flour in two batches, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions with a spatula, and make sure all ingredients combine well. Knead into a soft dough.
Roll out the dough to a 1/2 cm thickness. Cut dough with a cookie cutter that is just a bit smaller than your tart tin in size. Line dough in the middle of tart tins. Lightly press the dough with your thumbs, starting from the bottom then up to the sides. While pressing the dough, turn the tart tin clockwise/anti-clockwise in order to make an even tart shell. Trim away any excess dough.
For the custard:
- 3 eggs
- 110 gm caster sugar
- 225 gm hot water
- 85 gm evaporated milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Add sugar into hot water, mix until completely dissolved. Whisk egg with evaporated milk. Pour in sugar water. Mix well. Sift egg mixture to get rid of any foam. Carefully pour egg mixture into each tart shell.
Baking the tarts:
Preheat oven to 200C. Position rack in lower third of oven. Bake tarts for 10 to 15 minutes until the edges are lightly brown.
Lower the heat to 180C. Keep an eye on them. Once you see the custard being puffed up a bit, pull the oven door open about 2 to 3 inches. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes until the custard is cooked through. Just insert a toothpick into the custard. If it stands on its own, it’s done.
Extra baking tips:
- Placing tarts on the lower rack in the oven cooks the crusts easily and prevents the custard from heating up too quickly.
- At the very last stage, pull the oven door open a few inches. This is to avoid the custard from being puffed up too high. The custard will collapse once they are cooled down and you want to prevent this from happening.
- To check if the custard is set, stick a toothpick in the custard when it’s almost ready and if the toothpick stands on its own, the custard is set. The custard may still look a bit on the soft side, but if the toothpick stands, it’s good! Trust the toothpick!