Honey Hong Kong Egg Tarts
Hong Kong Egg Tarts are one of my favorite Dim Sum dessert items. Luckily, they are also one of the easiest desserts to make and require the fewest ingredients (most of which are common staples everyone has in their pantries). I used to make these all the time for potlucks—mostly because of how simple it is and how impressed people were to see a standard Chinese bakery item replicated at home. To simplify the recipe a bit, I made a shortbread crust instead of the widely-known flaky pastry crust seen in restaurants and bakeries. To spice things up a bit, I added honey to the filling to give the egg custard a more interesting flavor profile.
Although known as a more Chinese item nowadays, this dessert was preceded by the English Custard Tart and the Portuguese pastel de nata. These egg tarts are said to have first appeared in Guangzhou in the 1920s, and later introduced to Hong Kong in the 1940s and 1950s through cha chaan tengs—restaurants that offered affordable, eclectic western inspired menus.
Ingredients (makes 12):
- 2 cups of all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (or 1 stick) of butter, unsalted
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup of powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 1/2 cup of milk
- 3 large eggs
- 1/3 cup of sugar
- 1 tbsp honey
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Pre-heat the oven to 400˚F ( 200˚C)
- Shortbread Crust -
2. Add the flour, powdered sugar, and butter to a large bowl. Beat the egg with the vanilla extract and add to the flour mixture. Knead the dough until smooth and shape into a long log shape
3. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. Take out a standard muffin pan and line them with scalloped cupcake papers. Take a piece of the divided dough and place it into one of the cupcake papers. Shape the dough into the pan by spinning the cupcake paper and covering the edges uniformly. Try to avoid a shell that's too thin. Repeat with all 12. (Note that it may be easier to shape these shells at the four corners of the pan—and then place them towards the center when done)
- Custard Filling -
4. Dissolve the sugar and honey into the hot water and add the milk. Set aside to cool
5. Beat the 3 eggs and slowly whisk in the hot water/milk/sugar mixture. Add a pinch of salt and the vanilla extract.
- Assembling and baking the egg tart -
6. Carefully pour the egg mixture into each of the short bread shells, leaving a bit of space on top. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the egg mixture solidifies.
7. Place aside for 5 minutes to chill, remove the cupcake paper, and enjoy!