This popular dessert features a silky egg custard that is baked in a crispy, buttery puff pastry shell. This shortcut recipe uses store-bought puff pastry and only takes 15 minutes to prepare.Chinese egg tarts on a black slate with mandarins and a teapot in the background. Egg tarts are my favorite Chinese dessert. I remember my mom always treating me to them whenever we went shopping in Chinatown when I was a kid. Now, I know the name “egg tarts” might not sound appealing to some people, but it’s not like you’re eating a straight-up egg in a dessert. The filling is delicate and sweet with a creamy vanilla taste. The shell is crispy, flaky and buttery. Perhaps custard tarts would be a better name and description. Chinese egg tarts on black late with mandarins and tea serving tray.

What is a Chinese egg tart?

Chinese egg tarts (aka daan taat) is a dessert consisting of a flaky pastry shell filled with an egg custard, which can be commonly found at dim sum restaurants and Chinese bakeries. This dessert dates back to the 1920s and was developed in Guangzhou, China. It’s a cross between the traditional Cantonese steamed egg pudding and the English custard tart. Back then Guangzhou was the only accessible port to foreign traders and the influence of this dessert comes from Britain’s pastry chefs at the Western-style department stores in the city. The Zhen Guang Restaurant in Guangzhou is also credited with inventing the Chinese egg tart. (source: Wikipedia)

How to make Chinese egg tarts:

a picture of ingredients needed to make Chinese egg tarts The traditional tart shell is made by combining a lard dough and water dough and laminating them together to create the flaky layers. This process can be tricky and very time-consuming. So for this recipe, I used store-bought puff pastry. It still gives you that flaky, crispy texture and great taste, but it’s so much easier and quicker to work with. The only other ingredients you need are granulated sugar, evaporated milk, eggs, and vanilla extract. cutting circles out of puff pastry dough You start by rolling out your puff pastry dough and cutting out as many 4″ circles as you can. Fit the pastry circles into 3×1″ foil tart tins. straining custard mixture through a fine mesh sieve Combine all the filling ingredients and filter the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve. pouring custard into tart shells Pour the mixture into the tart shells, filling to just below the rim. Bake at 400F for 10-15 minutes and another 10-15 minutes at 350F.

Expert tips:

  • Working with store-bought puff pastry – The size and thickness will vary from brand to brand. So depending on the size and thickness of your puff pastry, you can either roll it out to 12×12″, yielding 9 tarts, or roll it out to 14×14″, yielding 12 tarts.
  • Making the filling – Completely dissolve the sugar in hot water to ensure a uniform solution before mixing it with the rest of the ingredients. Then filter the filling mixture through a fine sieve to remove any bubbles or lumps for a perfectly smooth and silky custard.
  • Baking in the lower third of the oven – Baking the tarts closer to the lower elements of the oven will help cook and brown the bottom of the tart to prevent a soggy base.
  • Baking the egg tarts – Baking the tarts at the initial high temperature will also help brown and crisp up the pastry shell and then you lower the temperature to finish cooking the custard.
  • If the custard starts to puff up in the oven – Open the oven door 2-3″ to prevent the custard from expanding too much and collapsing when cooled.

How to make Chinese egg tarts in a muffin pan:

Please note that a muffin pan is much deeper and you won’t get that signature edge around the tart, but it does work if you don’t have any other options. Just make sure to grease the muffin pan for easy removal AND do not fill the pastry shell any higher than 1cm from the top. This way if the pastry shrinks in the oven, the filling won’t spill over and stick to the pan (trust me, I’ve done it). Foil tart tins are much preferred. The ones I use are 3″ in diameter and 1″ deep. You can find them at most grocery stores. They are the perfect size and they give you that authentic bakery-style look with that nice edge. You can wash and re-use them if they are still in good condition.

FAQ:

  • How to store Chinese egg tarts – Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge. Reheat in the oven at 350F for 5-10 minutes to warm up and crisp up the pastry.
  • Can you freeze egg tarts? – Unfortunately not because custard has the tendency to separate as it defrosts and the liquid that weeps out will be absorbed by the pastry, making it soggy.
  • What is the difference between Chinese and Portuguese egg tarts? – Portuguese egg tarts are sweeter and caramelized on top because they’re baked at a much higher temperature. The custard is made with mostly egg yolks while Chinese egg tarts are made with mostly whole eggs.
Chinese egg tarts on a black slate board with a mandarin orange in the background.

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With Chinese New Year coming up, “Gong Hay Fat Choy”, wishing you great happiness and prosperity this coming year!

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Chinese Egg Tarts


  • Author: Lily Ernst
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 25 min
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 9-12

Description

This popular dessert features a creamy silky egg custard that is baked in a crispy, buttery puff pastry shell.


Ingredients

  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed and refrigerated
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp (80g) white sugar
  • 2/3 cup (150g) hot water
  • 1/3 cup (75g) evaporated milk
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 912 foil tart tins (approx. 3″ in diameter and 1″ deep is best)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F and position rack in lower third of oven.
  2. Completely dissolve the sugar in the hot water and set aside to cool.
  3. Roll out the pastry dough to 12 x 12 inches or 14 x 14 inches and cut out 9-12 circles using a 4 inch cookie cutter. Fit the pastry circles into the foil tart tins and place on baking sheet.
  4. Whisk the eggs, egg yolk, evaporated milk, vanilla, and sugar water together. Stir in the room temperature sugar solution. Strain the egg mixture into a large measuring cup through a fine sieve. Carefully pour into tart shells, filling to just below the rim.
  5. Bake at 400F for 10-15 minutes until the edges are lightly brown. Please keep an eye on the tarts as they are baking. As soon as the custard starts to puff, you need to open the oven door 2-3 inches to prevent the filling from puffing up too much and collapsing when cooled.
  6. Once the edges start to brown, reduce the heat to 350F and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the custard is done. You can test the filling by inserting a toothpick into the custard, if it can stand on its own, it’s done.

Notes

Egg tarts are best enjoyed the day of. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge. Reheat in the oven at 350F for 5-10 minutes to warm up and crisp up the pastry.

Expert tips:

  • Working with store-bought puff pastry – The size and thickness will vary from brand to brand. So depending on the size and thickness of your puff pastry, you can either roll it out to 12×12″, yielding 9 tarts, or roll it out to 14×14″, yielding 12 tarts.
  • Making the filling – Completely dissolve the sugar in hot water to ensure a uniform solution before mixing it with the rest of the ingredients. Then filter the filling mixture through a fine sieve to remove any bubbles or lumps for a perfectly smooth and silky custard.
  • Baking in the lower third of the oven – Baking the tarts closer to the lower elements of the oven will help cook and brown the bottom of the tart to prevent a soggy base.
  • Baking the egg tarts – Baking the tarts at the initial high temperature will also help brown and crisp up the pastry shell and then you lower the temperature to finish cooking the custard.
  • If the custard starts to puff up in the oven – Open the oven door 2-3″ to prevent the custard from expanding too much and collapsing when cooled.
  • If using a muffin pan instead of tart tins – Please note that a muffin pan is much deeper and you won’t get that signature edge around the tart, but it does work if you don’t have any other options. Just make sure to grease the muffin pan for easy removal AND do not fill the pastry shell any higher than 1cm from the top. This way if the pastry shrinks in the oven, the filling won’t spill over and stick to the pan.
  • Category: dessert, breakfast
  • Method: bake
  • Cuisine: Chinese

Keywords: egg tart recipe, Chinese egg tarts, Hong Kong style egg tarts

Recipe adapted from Christine’s Recipes.
CHINESE EGG TARTS. A silky and creamy egg custard baked in a buttery puff pastry. My favorite Chinese dessert ever since I was a kid. #ChineseNewYear
This post was originally published on Jan 29th, 2016 and has been recently updated with more information.

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