Egg tarts are subtly sweet bite-sized treats with a flaky crust and custard filling. They can be enjoyed warm from the oven, at room temperature, or even served cold. Egg tarts have a unique history in both Asian and Portuguese cuisine.
The Portuguese version of egg tarts have a scorched, caramelized exterior. A version of this caramelized egg tart can also be seen on menus in Macau, and just a short boat ride away is Hong Kong where egg tarts can also be found on local menus. The Hong Kong egg tarts are influenced by the British style of custard tarts, with the egg custard filling presented with a glossy, smooth finish rather than a caramelized top. They're a popular offering at dim sum.
These Chinese-style egg tarts may seem difficult to make, but the preparation is quite easy. A simple egg custard is made with milk, egg, vanilla, and sugar syrup for subtle sweetness. The filling is poured inside a simple pastry crust that has been pressed inside small tart pans.
The egg tarts are first baked at a higher temperature to allow the crust to crisp, then the oven temperature is lowered to allow the filling to set. Once the filling is no longer wobbly, the tarts are ready to remove from the oven. Once they have cooled enough to handle, gently remove them from the tart pans and enjoy. They are the perfect not-too-sweet treat to end any meal.
- For the Egg Custard:
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the Crust:
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 egg (beaten)
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the water and sugar until completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk and egg.
Pour in the cooled sugar syrup and vanilla extract and whisk to combine. Set aside while preparing the crust.
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.
Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix well.
Mix in the flour until combined.
Knead the dough until it softens and becomes pliable.
Using small amounts of the dough at a time, press into the bottom and up the sides of small tart pans to form even tart shells. Trim away any excess dough that hangs over the sides.
Fill the tart shells with the egg custard. Bake in the preheated oven for 13 minutes until lightly browned. Reduce the heat to 350 F and continue to bake for 15 minutes more or until the custard is set.
Allow to cool slightly before removing from the tart pans. Enjoy!
How to Store and Freeze
- Leftover egg tarts can be stored in an airtight container for a few days.
- For longer storage, wrap cooled tarts in plastic wrap and store in a zip-top freezer bag. Freeze for up to 2 months.
Are Egg Tarts Vegetarian?
Egg tarts are vegetarian since they don't contain any meat products. However, they are not vegan, since they contain dairy and eggs.