On the 10th of February, the Asian in me did suck it up and showed itself. As promised, I had a meatloaf cooked, ready and waiting in the freezer. I’m not one who likes to be caught off-guard and be unprepared.
Rolled out of bed and I was onto it – eyes hazy and I was walking in a daze, I managed to somehow make it to the kitchen without falling over and even located the recipe on my messy table.
Cantonese Egg Tarts.
Apparently there are two types – the difference is in the tart shell. It’s either cookie-like or puff pastry-like. For me, it’s a no brainer. Cookie-like tart shell it is.
I don’t have the mini tart-tin like the recipe asked for but I’ve previously tried it with 12-hole muffin pan and it worked out well.
I placed the softened butter (guilty, I used the microwave) and sugar in the mixing bowl and left the Mix Master to do the hard work for me. I’ve somehow managed to justify that if I can find a more efficient way to do the job at half the time and with less energy, I am not lazy. I am smart.
Apparently I’m really good at justifying everything. I guess that was a very good example.
Moving along, once the mixture is smooth, light and fluffy, lower the speed of the mixer and slowly add in the whisked egg. Proceed to add the vanilla extract. Once well combined, I added the flour bit by bit to avoid the *poof* effect but on a more serious note this allows the mixture to combine better.
Seriousness is unavoidable in baking – sucks to be me.
Once done, the dough calls for kneading. Fun time. Imagine playing with play-doh. I was never allowed to own any as a kid. So this makes up for lost childhood time! I even have a mini roller to flatten the dough once kneaded. Once rolled out, I get to cut the dough with a round cutter and fit it into each hole in the muffin pan. Childhood dream… bliss!
Honestly, all that excitement in the morning got me a little delirious.
Now that the tart shell is done, I went straight into making the custard. I left the whisking of the eggs with evaporated milk to my Assistant Mix Master while I got the syrup ready – hot water and sugar… voila! Then I added it to the whisked egg mixture. It’s all foamy so I sifted the mixture into a measuring cup (1 litre) and from the cup I pour the egg mixture into individual tart shell.
That was the last fun bit… because I spent the next 30 minutes watching the egg tarts in the oven. Just watching the first 15 minutes until the edges are lightly browned before reducing the oven temperature from 200°C to 180°C and then more watcing and waiting for the custard to puff a little (not the most obvious thing in the world, so look closely) and then leave the oven door ajar… about 2 to 3 inches while it continues to bake for another 15 minutes. This is to avoid the custard from over-puffing.
I don’t have a toothpick to test the egg tart but I did make sure that the middle of the custard is no longer wobbly when I took it out of the oven.
Perfect Chinese New Year snack.
It definitely felt like I was sitting at one of those old-fashion Chinese café back home having a ‘yam cha’ session with Dad like old days.
Do you know the difference between Portuguese Egg Tarts and Cantonese Egg Tarts? Apparently the former is sold at KFC in Asia. I’m not sure what to think about it. Either someone is playing a prank or there are people out there who actually like having egg tarts after greasy chicken. Ahh, my fellow Asians.
I got this recipe Christine’s Recipe and really didn’t change much to it except using different tin to bake the egg tarts. So you can either click on the link to her website for the recipe or else, I’ve pasted it below for those of you who think lifting a finger is too much of an effort because you just need to start baking these gems now.
Cantonese Egg Tarts
from Christine’s Recipe
Makes about 10-12 egg tarts (3-Inch Wide 1-1/2-Inch Deep Tart Tin)
Ingredients of crust:
- 225 gm plain flour
- 125 gm butter
- 55 gm icing sugar
- 1 egg, whisked
- a dash of vanilla extract
Ingredients of custard:
- 3 eggs
- 110 gm caster sugar
- 225 gm hot water
- 85 gm evaporated milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Method (making crust):
- Place butter at room temperature until softened. Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer over medium speed until the mixture is smooth, fluffy and light in color.
- Add in whisked egg, half at a time, beat over low speed. Add vanilla extract, mix well.
- Sift in flour in two batches, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions with a spatula, and make sure all ingredients combine well. Knead into dough. (see picture)
- Roll out the dough to a 1/2 cm thickness. Cut dough with a cookie cutter that is just a bit smaller than your tart tin in size. Line dough in the middle of tart tins, one by one. Lightly press the dough with your thumbs, starting from the bottom then up to the sides. While pressing the dough, turn the tart tin clockwise/anti-clockwise in order to make an even tart shell. Trim away any excess dough.
Method (making custard):
- Add sugar into hot water, mix until completely dissolved.
- Whisk egg with evaporated milk. Pour in sugar water. Mix well.
- Sift egg mixture to get rid of any foam into a tea pot. Carefully pour egg mixture into each tart shell.
Method (baking tarts):
- Preheat oven to 200C. Position rack in lower third of oven. Bake tarts for 10 to 15 minutes until the edges are lightly brown.
- Lower the heat to 180C. Keep an eye on them. Once you see the custard being puffed up a bit, pull the oven door open about 2 to 3 inches. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes until the custard is cooked through. Just insert a toothpick into the custard. If it stands on its own, it’s done.