Hong Kong Style Egg Tarts
My favourite thing about Guangzhou was that my when my family shifted there, they decided to eat outside like crazy. I’m not sure what changed- perhaps the fact that both my brother and I had moved out and my parents had more time to themselves. They had all types of food there and had covered almost every Chinese restaurant in our area without any knowledge of Mandarin. Whenever I went to visit during college break, they would take me out and we would go eat at all the new restaurants they had discovered. I didn’t know much about food back then, the only thing I could make Maggie and white sauce pasta inside a kettle (which I think is my best cooking achievement till date) but I remember slurping on fish hotpots, numbing my mouth with Sichuan peppercorns and having takoyaki and squids on sticks while walking down the busy Guangzhou streets. I remember going though the mandarin written menus, thankfully with numbers and pictures next to it, we would look at the waiter and point the numbers on whichever dish we thought looked nice and say the only thing we knew how to order- Pijiu (Beer).
This was also how we discovered Egg Tarts. When we went to visit Macau, almost every street corner shop had a small shelf selling these small golden glazed tartlets. These were incredibly similar to Pastel De Nata, a Portuguese dessert, which is also a puff pastry crust with an egg custard on top and the ones in Macau were the same since they also had a caramelised brown top. It turns out that these were originally from Guangzhou, which we discovered on the street side shops later after eating it in Macau. The egg tart that was made in Guangzhou was a fusion between Cantonese Egg Pudding and the English Custard tart which had been influenced by their open trade port in the early 20th century. It was later popularised by Hong Kong in 1940, and made into small tartlets with shortcrust pastry with a smooth glossy top.
Hong Kong Style Egg Tart Recipe:
(Makes 4 Egg tarts on a 4 inch tart pan), recipe adapted from Miss Tam Chiak
Ingredients for Shortcrust Pastry:
100 grams flour
40 grams cold butter
2 tsp sugar
1 pinch salt
Cold water (if necessary for binding the dough together)
Method for Shortcrust Pastry:
Add in the flour, salt, sugar and combine it with cold butter with your hands. Keep rubbing the mixture till it resembles coarse crumbs.
Make a well in the centre of your mixture and add the egg. Take a fork and whisk it and slowly combine the flour and egg.
Use your hands and assemble the dough into a ball, if it is still dry add 2 tbsp of cold water.
Chill the dough into a plastic wrap from 30 minutes to one hour in the fridge.
After 30 minutes, take the dough out of the fridge and cut your pastry into 4 balls. Roll the balls into a circle and line the dough to the middle of the tart case and gently press the dough into the dart along the edges. Cut off if there is any excess. Repeat for the remaining cases.
Take a fork and poke it around the base of your dough and put it in the fridge for another 30 minutes.
Ingredients for filling:
50 grams sugar
50 grams hot water
80 grams milk
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 pinch salt
Method for Filling:
Heat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius.
Add sugar into hot water and mix till it is dissolved. Set aside and cool it.
In a bowl, beat eegs, milk, vanilla essence and salt.
Add it to the sugar mixture and mix it.
Sift it to another bowl to make sure that the mixture is smooth.
Take out the tarts from the fridge and use a sifter to pour int the mixture onto the tart.
Bake for around 25-30 minutes. You can check with a toothpick and make sure it comes out clean.
Gao, Sally. “Everything You Need To Know About The Hong Kong Egg Tart.” Culture Trip, The Culture Trip, 4 Oct. 2016, theculturetrip.com/asia/china/hong-kong/articles/a-brief-history-of-the-hong-kong-egg-tart/