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The Hong Kong style egg tarts are circular shaped pastry with a flaky pastry surrounding a creamy smooth lightly sweetened egg custard. These little treats are most commonly served in dim sum restaurants as well as Chinese bakeries. Although they often come in standard sizes of 12 cm in diameter, there are certain places, due to popular demand, that sell them at an even smaller size. It’s really just up to your preference honestly.
The Hong Kong style egg tarts are very often used as visitation gifts and tea time snacks in certain regions where the Chinese communities reside. Since they are very easily portable and affordable, these egg tarts are easily one of the most common snacks among the Chinese community. In addition to that, you can easily find these sweet pastry treats in almost every chinese concept/style coffee shop too.
Speaking of, did you know that the Hong Kong style egg tarts are actually derived from the Portuguese style egg tart? In the beginning when Macau was still under Portuguese colonization around the twentieth century, the Portuguese style egg tarts or otherwise known as the pasteis de nata, was brought over to Macau and rather than Portuguese egg tarts, they are better known as Portuguese custard tarts instead! While the Hong Kong style egg tarts as we see today have a light colour and a shorter crust as compared to its Portuguese counterpart. The surface of the Portuguese custard tart is carefully charred and caramelized to give it that brownish colour and enhanced scorched flavour. Even though these two pastries may look and taste slightly different, both are delicious in its own way with the Portuguese counterpart having a sweet denser filling and a slightly scorched top to enhanced its flavour accompanied by a crusty shell whereas the Hong Kong style egg tart offers a lighter mouthfeel with its silky smooth eggy custard filling accompanied with either a flaky type crust or a dense and crumbly type shell.
Over the years, the Portuguese style egg tarts were then modified by Macau locals and brought over to Hong Kong since it’s only a short boat ride there. Even though the Macau locals have modified it to their taste and brought it over to Hong Kong, Hong Kongers being colonized by the British back then, decided to further modify it according to the British style egg custard where it has more of a silky smooth texture to it. The difference between the Macau and Hong Kong style egg tarts are, while the texture of the Macau style egg tart is more clumpy and dense, the Hong Kong style egg tarts are smoother and have a lighter taste to it.
The flavour of the Hong Kong egg tarts fresh from the oven is especially tantalizing. There’s just something special about pastries that just came out of the oven, and this is especially true for egg tarts. Not only do they smell heavenly, the crispy and flaky pastry in addition to the smooth and creamy egg custard just hits the spot like no other pastries. It’s probably because the custard of the egg tart is made with egg, thus explaining why it is best eaten fresh from the oven since overtime, the eggs will develop a certain stale taste.
Nonetheless, although these little sweet treats are favoured by many, it is not easy to make them at all. Most of the time, the ingredient measurement is really important to ensure that the egg custard is thoroughly cooked to prevent salmonella and cracks in the middle, which indicates that they may be a tad too overcooked. Therefore, Thermomix® is the perfect appliance for this kind of precise food making as it comes with a precise heating function which allows you to cook something without needing to worry about the temperature fluctuating.
Similar to every other food on this planet, there are different versions of the Hong Kong style egg tarts, as mentioned earlier whereby one is made with shortcrust pastry and the other is made with chinese puff pastry, a traditional type of pastry that is made using butter and has a dense mouthfeel to it which crumbles upon biting. The chinese puff pastry was actually made with pork lard before it was substituted with butter as pork lard made the puff pastry a little more oily than it should. As such, the egg tart recipe that we will be sharing today is the chinese puff pastry type which is a crumbly type of pastry that will fill your mouth with a buttery scent upon biting into it.
Other than that, to keep up with the everchanging food trend throughout the years, Hong Kongers were even able to come up with a recipe where the egg custard filling of the egg tart at present day, offers several different types of flavours. Through their innovation of the egg tarts, they managed to create flavours ranging from sweet to savoury such as chocolate flavoured, green tea flavoured, abalone flavoured and even bird’s nest flavoured! Meanwhile in Malaysia, we too have our own rendition of these scrumptious tarts and that is the durian flavoured egg tart. Though incorporating the king of fruits in this egg tart, it ensues a strong element in terms of the taste and smell of the durian custard leaving consumers wanting for more!
From our observation, although most people favour the flaky and crispy egg tart pastry more, we actually think that the crumbly type pastry has quite an appeal on its own too. When made right, the texture and mouthfeel that you get as the cookie like pastry crumbles into your mouth is one of the most satisfying feelings ever. A soft and silky egg custard that is lightly sweetened in the middle accompanied by a dense, crumbly butter filled scent tart crust, a perfect combination that can for sure, satisfy your taste buds. Moreover, since the ingredients for the Hong Kong style egg tarts are mainly ingredients that you can find in your pantry, you can easily make it whenever you want without needing to stand in line for store bought ones or go through the hassle of changing clothes and finding a parking space.
Just thinking about making these Hong Kong style egg tarts are making us egg-cited so let’s jump right into the recipe.
Hong Kong Style Egg Tart Recipe
Ingredients (For 9 portions)
Ingredients for Pastry:
95g salted butter, room temperature
180g plain flour
Ingredients for egg custard filling:
75 g Castor Sugar
75 g Water
2 pieces Eggs
125 g Milk
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Pinch of Salt
First, pour the 10g sugar into the Thermomix bowl and set it to mill for 1 second at turbo speed or until the sugar is finely crushed.
Then add in the ingredients for pastry and set it to blend for 10 seconds at speed 6.
After that, use a spatula to transfer the pastry dough into a ready cling wrap. Wrap the pastry dough in the cling wrap and set aside in the fridge for up to 15 minutes.
Once the 15 minutes is up, take out the dough and divide them into smaller parts of 40g each. Divide them all into a total of 9 smaller parts.
Once done, roll the individual pastry doughs into a ball and flatten them with either a rolling pin or your hands, until it becomes a flat and thin disc.
After flattening them, fit them into the tart cases to ensure that it retains its shape and lightly press the base until it makes a thin base.
Next, prick some holes at the base of the pastry dough with a fork and refrigerate the pastry dough in the tart cases.
Then, we will proceed to making the filling. Before we start, preheat the oven at 180ºC.
While the oven is preheating, add the castor sugar and water into the mixing bowl and mix for 4 minutes at 37ºC using speed 1.
Next add in all the other ingredients for filling and mix it together for 20 seconds at speed 3
Once done, strain the egg mixture twice to achieve a silky smooth texture.
Then, carefully pour the egg mixture into each tart shell and bake them for 25 minutes at 180ºC. Remember to check on the tarts at the 20 minute mark and insert a piece of aluminum foil over the tarts to prevent the surface of the tart from burning.
Once the 25 minutes of baking is up, you can serve it on a plate and dig in before it cools down. We understand that waiting for it to cool down a little before digging in may be tough but always be careful when eating food right off the stove or oven and blow on it before biting to prevent burning yourself while eating.
Once it comes out of the oven, it’s best consumed within one day.
This delicious Hong Kong style egg tart recipe is adapted from Jane Lee.