If you visit a Chinese bakery shop, I am sure you won’t miss the egg tarts (蛋挞) in the display window. These mini-sized tarts with a pudding-alike filling have always been one of the best sellers among Chinese desserts. When freshly out from the oven, they fill the air with a scent of creamy sweetness, which easily evokes your appetite. It takes simple ingredients to make the egg tart, which means you can prepare them easily at home. It may sound hard to believe but even the first-time baker can make them with no fail.
EGG TART IN STYLE OF HONG KONG VS. PURTUGHESE
I have discovered the Hong Kong style egg tarts exactly in Hong Kong. At the beginning of my days living in Hong Kong I was in a great foodie’s exploring mood. Together with my classmates, who were also curious about local food, we went to try different restaurants and cafes. The Hong Kong style egg tart is one of the must-tries on our list. I was attracted by the warm and pudding-alike filling. It was like having sweet steamed egg in pie.
Then I also tried the Portuguese styled egg tart during a trip to Macau, where used to be the Portuguese colony. The major difference between the two kinds of egg tarts is their crusts. The Hong Kong style crust is with a cookie texture, while the Portuguese one is with the puff pastry.
TIPS ON MAKING EGG TARTS AT HOME
Honestly, as I am not a fan of dessert, I’ve never thought about one day I would make the egg tart by myself. But living in Italy, my urge of making the Cantonese Dim Sum convinced me to do it. More importantly, I wish to have the chance to make them for my clients one day.
So here are some tips from my cooking experience of the egg tart:
1. Using evaporated milk
For the filling of the egg tart, we are using the evaporated milk. Not fresh milk, nor the condensed milk, but evaporated milk. It is also called "unsweetened condensed milk", a canned dairy product, where about 60% of the water has been removed from the fresh milk.
Some old recipes by Hong Kong people mentioned the evaporated milk as “flower milk” (Hua Nai). This was due to the fact that there were flowers printed on the can of the most popular evaporated milk.
2. Filter the cream 3 times
Once all the ingredients for the cream are mixed together, make sure to pass it through a sift 2-3 times. This is to filter out the un-amalgamated tissues. At the same time, it helps to reduce the air inside the cream, making the final texture silky and smooth.
3. Keep the unused dough in freezer
Don’t worry if you have leftover dough. Keep them in the freezer (up to 1 month). Next time you feel like to have some egg tart, it saves you lot of time to prepare them from scratch.
HONG KONG STYLE EGG TART (港式蛋挞)Course: SNACKCuisine: CantoneseDifficulty: Media
Egg tarts have always been one of the best sellers among Chinese desserts. When freshly out from the oven, they fill the air with a scent of creamy sweetness, which easily evokes your appetite. It takes simple ingredients to make the egg tart, which means you can prepare them easily at home.
- The filling
Warm water (around 50°C): 100ml
Evaporated milk: 100g
- The dough
Icing sugar: 37g
All purpose flour: 150g
- The filling
- Melt the sugar in warm water. Mix them well.
- Break the eggs in a ball and whisk them using a fork. Then add the eggs into the sweetened water.
- Add in the evaporated milk. Mix them well.
- Pass the mixture through a sift 2-3 times in order to make it smooth.
- Leave the mixture in fridge for 1 hour. In the meanwhile, prepare the dough.
- The dough
- Take the butter from the fridge and leave it in room temperature for 2 hours before using. The butter should be soft but not melted.
- Put the softened butter, salt and sugar in a bowl. Mix them well.
- Beat an egg. Take 20g of the beaten egg and add it into the bowl. Add in the flour and mix well.
- Mix all the ingredients to form a dough. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- (after 30 minutes) Divide the dough into 10 pieces, each weights around 27-30g. Roll each of them into a ball.
- Assembling and cooking the tarts
- Brush a layer of oil on the inner part of the mold. Put one portion of the dough inside and flatten the dough from the bottom upwards to make a shell in the mold. Use another mold to press the dough in order to get a perfect form.
- Poke some holes on the bottom of the shell using a fork. Chill all the molds in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- (after 30 minutes) Put all the molds on a baking tray. Pour the filling into the shells.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Put the baking tray into the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
- Take out the baking tray and turn it 180°. Put it back and continue to bake for another 10 minutes. Pay attention to the filling. If you find there are burnt spots appearing, put a piece of aluminium paper on top.
- I am using my terracotta muffin mold just to make use of what I already have. They do the same job in cooking the tarts. However not as easy to demold as the regular tart molds.
These tarts make great bites for breakfast, afternoon tea and finger food for parties. If you decorate them with Christmas elements, they also go perfectly with the festival theme.