Eggtarts : 蛋撻 : Baking

Freshly baked Eggtarts

It’s not a secret to anyone that knows me; eggtarts (蛋撻) are one of my favourite foods of all time. There are two types of pastries available at Chinese bakeries, shortcrust pasty and puff pastry. The eggtarts at each bakery differs from another, for example the Tai Cheong bakery in Hong Kong does a shortcrust pastry and it’s my favourite one; whereas a little local bakery in Yuen Long eggtarts has light puff pastry. When I’m back in HK, I indulge in these delicious tarts for breakfast, lunch or just as a snack whilst sipping Kowloon Dairy milk.

Living in London however, means that you can only get eggtarts in Chinese bakeries and unfortunately I do not live near one! So what does a girl do when she has cravings for these delectable eggie goodness? Simple, make them herself.

Puff pastry is well, have you seen Paul Hollywood make it? It’s rolling, re-rolling and more rolling. I decided to opt for my usual favourite pastry base: the shortcrust pastry otherwise known as the cookie pastry in Hong Kong. After scouring the net I plumped down using Christine Cantonese Egg Tart Recipe and combined it with a few other recipes out there. The original recipe is below, with the changes I made stated after it.

Crust

225g Plain Flour
125g Butter
55g Icing Sugar
1 egg
Vanilla extract

  1. Cream the butter and sugar together until soft and fluffly.
  2. Add in the egg and beat until smooth.
  3. Add in the vanilla extra, mix well.
  4. Sift in a third of the flour, mix well. Carry on until all the flour is fully mixed into the batter.
  5. Rest dough for around 5-10 minutes in the fridge if you find the butter is melting.
  6. Roll the dough till 0.5cm thick. Cut dough with cookie cutter that is slightly smaller than your tin size. Place dough into tin and using your thumb, gently press the dough from bottom upwards whilst turning clockwise to make an even tart shell. (You can make the pastry higher than the tin, if you want more egg mixture into your eggtarts, I find that most of the bakeries in Hong Kong do this. However I haven’t mastered that professional egg tart shaped case yet.)

Custard

3 eggs
110g caster sugar
225g hot water
85g evaporated milk
½ tsp vanilla extract

  1. Add sugar into hot  water, mix until it completely dissolves.
  2. Whisk egg with evaporated milk.
  3. Pour in sugar water. Mix well.
  4. Sift egg to rid of any foam and other particles. This is to ensure your egg mixture is smooth and silky.
  5. Pour into shells.

Baking

  1. Preheat oven to 200C. Position rack in lower third of oven, so that the pastry cooks before the custard.
  2. Bake for 10-15 minutes until edges are golden brown.
  3. Turn oven down to 180C. Once you see custard puff up, open oven door about 2-3 inches.
  4. Bake for another 10-15 minutes.
  5. To check if done, put toothpick into custard, if it stands upright, it’s done.

Changes I made

  • I used 50g more butter, as I found the base to be too hard so adding 50g more butter would make the pastry more crumbly and buttery. I chilled the pastry for 5-10 minutes in the fridge before rolling it out, so that the dough wasn’t melting in my hands.
  • If you want a slight lift to the pastry, you can add 1 teaspoon of baking powder to the mixture.
  • I added an extra egg yolk to the custard to give it a more yellow colouring (though this doesn’t show up in the picture as it was taken with a camera phone!)
  • In my first batch of eggtarts I added evaporated milk to the mixture, but found this far too sweet for our liking. I substitute the evaporated milk for 40-50g of fresh milk.
  • If you have custard powder, you can add 2-3 teaspoon to the water as well. This is optional, but as I substituted the evaporated milk for milk I was worried about it not setting, so I put this step in. If anyone makes it without the custard powder and it’s fine, do let me know!
  • I didn’t open the oven door as suggested at the end and the eggtarts turned out fine. Again, this is really to do with how your oven functions.

Have fun baking!

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