Hong Kong Style Egg Tarts

Hong Kong Egg Tarts - Bam's Kitchen

Can you hear the rattling of the China plates? Can you see the hot steam escaping from the bamboo baskets?  Can you close your eyes and remember the fantastic smell of Chinese dishes and dim sum that transcends through every corner of the tea house?  Can you envision the Cantonese waiters yelling out orders as they are running frantically around in the crowded small tea house making sure that everyone gets their special dim sum delights? Oh wait...Here comes the waitress pushing the glass cart with the dessert dim sum. Decisions, decisions, decisions... Should I have a creamy mango pudding, Dou fu fa (豆腐花) or a freshly baked Cantonese Egg Tart. Can you smell the buttery crust of the egg tart and the lightly sweet cream? Oh my, the waitress has just notified me that they have just came out of the oven and are still warm. Decision is made!

Hong Kong Style Egg Tarts

Egg Custard tarts were introduced in Hong Kong in the 1940s by cha chaan tengs (a tea diner). Egg tarts were then introduced in western cafes, bakeries, dim sum restaurants and many people loved to eat them with Yum Cha. Yum Cha is morning style or afternoon tea. As you know, Britain ruled Hong Kong for many years.  One could only guess that the UK had a big impact on Hong Kong as they are experts at pudding, egg custards and such and maybe this is one of the reason why this trend started.

I love sampling these little sweet treats from many different tea shops and pastry shops in Hong Kong. Each one has a very different and unique flavor depending on the ingredients and love put into each batch. In Hong Kong there are many different variation of this little egg tart including honey-egg, ginger-flavoured, chocolate tarts, green-tea-flavoured tarts, egg tarts with coconut toasted on top and even bird's nest tarts. Usually I have noted with all of my QA and taste testing that there are 2 main kinds of crusts either like a short crust pastry or a puff pastry. I think that Hong Kong tarts have a rich custard filling that has many more eggs and is less creamy than Portuguese pastéis de nata.

Portuguese egg tarts have evolved from "pastéis de nata"  a traditional Portuguese custard pastry that consists of custard in a creme brulee like consistency caramelized in a puff pastry case.  It was created more than 200 years ago by Catholic Sisters at Jeronimos Monastery.

I think of one best egg tarts I have eaten was at a little bakery in Macau. Each bite almost melted in my mouth. However, they can be quite greasy. However Hong Kong Cantonese Egg tarts are also lovely as they are not super sweet but very creamy and delicate and not so greasy. So I tried looking around the internet to see if I could find some different recipes and came up with a combination I liked with half of my batch made with a traditional Cantonese bakery crust and half of the batch made with a puff pastry. A little something for everyone.

Hong Kong Style Egg Tarts

Now that I have set the scene for a leisurely Sunday Dim Sum meal, why wait in those long lines in que waiting for a table at your favorite tea house when you can make those lovely Hong Kong style egg tarts right from the comfort of your home

Hong Kong Style Egg Tarts (recipe adapted from Food.com by Celticevergreen and Dr. Gaellon)

Makes 12 Tarts

Flaky Crust (homemade or store-bought phyllo)

  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup lard or butter
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 dash vanilla extract
  • OR JUST USE 1 pre-packaged frozen puff pastry

Yummy Egg Tart Filling

  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 9 eggs, beaten (this is NOT a typo- add 9 eggs)
  • 1 dash vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned evaporated milk
Step 1: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C)
Step 2: A) Make the crust or B) prepare the frozen puff pastry.
Plan A: Make from scratch a flaky crust: In a bowl, mix together the confectioners' sugar and flour. Mix in butter until it is in small crumbs. Stir in the egg and vanilla until the mixture forms a dough. The texture should be slightly moist.  Shape dough into 2 inch balls, and press the balls into small tart molds so that it covers the bottom, and goes up just above the rim. (I did not have tart tins so I used a cupcake baking sheet and this worked well.) Use your fingers or a chopstick to crimp the edges.
Hong Kong Style Egg Tarts
Plan B: Use Store Bought puff pastry for crust: Take the phyllo dough out the freezer and let it set at room temperature for about 5-10minutes. Take one sheet of phyllo dough and lay it flat on a cutting board. Find a cup or round glass that it is large enough to cut a circle to fill your tarts a with some overlapping. (I used a martini glass) Spray your pan with a little cooking spray. Place the cut phyllo circle into the tart or cupcake tin. Crimp the edges to make a scalloped edge with your fingers and/or chop sticks.

Step 3: Combine the white sugar and water in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Strain the beaten eggs through a sieve, and whisk into the sugar mixture. Stir in the evaporated milk and vanilla. Strain the filling through a sieve, and fill the tart shells. (Straining is a really important step so don't skip this step or your egg tarts will not be as consistently smooth and creamy as you wished.)

Hong Kong Style Egg Tarts

Step 4: Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven middle rack, until crust is golden brown and the filling is slightly puffed. In addition a toothpick should come clean when it is cooked.
Hong Kong Style Egg Tarts
Hong Kong Style Egg Tarts
Step 5: Cool for about 5-10 minutes in pan and then remove from cupcake pan or tart pan. Enjoy Hong Kong Style Egg Tarts while still warm with tea and friends.

 

 

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Hong Kong Style Egg Tarts

By HWC Magazine  , ,   

December 9, 2011

  • Cook: 1 hr
  • Yields: 12 Adults or 2 Hungry Teenagers

Ingredients

powdered (icing) sugar -

flour -

butter -

egg -

vanilla -

puff pastry dough -

sugar or sugar alternative -

evaporated milk -

Directions

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