Egg Tart or Portuguese Egg Tarts is a type of tart filled with egg custard baked on a short crust or puff pastry, it is very popular in Asia particularly Hong Kong. This dish might be seen around Asia and other parts of the world but it has its Portuguese roots. History suggests that these tarts evolved from “pastel de nata”, a traditional Portuguese custard pastry made with a crème brulee type filling in a puff pastry. It was created by the Catholic Sisters in Mosteiro dos Jerónimos around 2 centuries ago. It then became popular out of the convent and was sold first in a pastry shop called Casa Pastéis de Belém in 1837. It was then introduced to Hong Kong in the 1940′s by the Cha Chaan Tengs most probably through Macau which was a Portuguese colony. Western cafes and bakeries in Hong Kong soon started to serve it to compete with yum cha restaurants. It then proved to be popular and now it became a common dim sum dish.
I love this mini treats, in fact I think I can eat half a dozen of them easily in one sitting, they taste good and real easy to make specially now short crust pastry is readily available in supermarkets. If you haven’t tried it, I strongly suggest especially when this is listed as number 16 on CNN Go’s 2011 World’s 50 most delicious foods.
2 x 400g packets, short crust pastry
2/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups hot water
9 eggs, beaten
1 cup evaporated milk
drops of vanilla extract
1. Pinch some dough from the ready-made pastry then shape into small balls roughly 1.5 to 2 inch in diameter, flatten it with hands or rolling pin then press on tart moulds and goes up higher than the sides. Using a knife scrape off the edges so the dough had the same height of the moulds. Do it with the remaining dough then set aside.
2. Combine hot water and sugar, mix well until all of the sugar melts. Set aside and let it cool.
3. Mix together milk, eggs and several drops of vanilla, and then combine with cooled down sugar mixture. Strain mixture through a sieve.
4. Start filling the tart shells then place in a 230C preheated oven and bake for 15-18 minutes or until the pasty becomes golden brown.
5. Remove from oven, let it cool then serve.