Mini egg tarts with a flaky, buttery crust and a silky smooth, rich egg custard filling are a delicious Hong Kong pastry that might look hard to make but are actually so easy. Enjoy this Asian-style treat for breakfast alongside a hot cup of tea in the morning, as a snack throughout the day, or most typically, as dessert to end an epic Chinese dim sum feast with.
What are Egg Tarts?
The Chinese egg tart (also called a dan tat) was first introduced in China by the British in the early 1900s. They are similar to Portuguese egg tarts, in that both have a delicious flaky pastry shell and a smooth egg custard filling. However, there are some differences. Portuguese egg tarts have a flakier shell, a sweeter filling, use only egg yolks, and are caramelized longer to get their signature blackened tops. Hong Kong egg tarts are typically smaller, have a sturdier shell, are less sweet, and use the whole egg yielding paler-coloured filing. You can find them at Chinese bakeries or at dim sum restaurants.
To make these mini egg tarts, you will need the following ingredients:
- pastry dough - made with all-purpose flour, unsalted butter, confectioners' sugar, salt, and ice cold water.
- hot water
- heavy cream
- vanilla extract
How to Make Mini Egg Tarts
- Make the dough. In a food processor, add flour, cubed butter, confectioners' sugar and salt. Pulse mix on and off for one minute, until the consistency of the flour mixture turns into small breadcrumbs. Drizzle ice water into the mixture (ice water is the key here). Close the lid and continue to pulse mix on and off for another one minute. Squeeze the crumbs together with your hands. If they stick together, the dough is ready.
- Shape the dough. Transfer the crumb-like dough into a large ziploc bag. Squeeze the dough using your hands and bring all the loose crumbs together until it turns into a nice and smooth dough ball. You can use disposable gloves to make it easier. Flatten the dough ball into a ¼-inch thick rectangle on a lightly floured surface using a rolling pin.
- Prepare the pastry cups. Use a 2-inch round cookie cutter (or rim of a glass) and cut out equal pieces of dough. Re-roll any scraps and repeat. You should be able to get about 24 pieces. Carefully press each dough into the tins of a non-stick 24-cup mini muffin pan. Transfer the pan into the refrigerator and store until the custard filling ready.
- Make the egg custard. In a small mixing bowl, whisk to combine beaten eggs, hot water, heavy cream, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy and the sugar is fully dissolved. To achieve smooth and creamy custard, you can strain the filling through a fine mesh strainer to ensure that there are no lumps.
- Assemble the egg tarts. Remove the mini muffin pan from the refrigerator and slowly pour in the custard filling into the pastry dough shells, up to ¾ full.
- Bake. Bake in a 450 F preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown and the custard is set. You can test by inserting a toothpick into the the egg tart. If it can stand without falling over, then it is done. Allow the egg tarts to cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan, then remove and serve warm.
Tips for Making Mini Egg Tarts
- Use COLD butter. Similar to any pastry pie dough, this is the key to getting a perfectly flaky crust. If the butter is too cold, it will melt too quickly when working with the dough and will not give you the flakiness that you want.
- Use disposable gloves: Using disposable gloves when handling pie dough (rather than handling pie dough directly with bare hands) will also help prevent the butter in the dough from melting too quickly.
- Refrigerate the dough. When not working with the dough (ie. when you have lined your mini muffin pan), always store it in the refrigerator to keep the butter from melting.
- How to store. Place completely cooled egg tarts into an airtight container and store for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
- How to reheat. Reheat egg tarts in a 300F preheated oven for 5 minutes or the air fryer for 2-3 minutes until just warm. Do not overheat.
More Pastry Recipes
- Apple Hand Pies
- Mini Pumpkin Pies
- Quick and Easy Butter Croissants
- Baked Jelly Donuts
- Braided Lattice Apple Pie
- Easy Peach Cobbler
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