Egg tarts, the Chinese equivalent of the English custard tart, come from Hong Kong, where pastry chefs supposedly created these tarts so that their bakeries could compete with dim sum restaurants for customers at breakfast. These sugary golden treats are available in almost any American Chinatown, and some bakeries even have a cult following: At Golden Gate Bakery in San Francisco, weekend lines to buy their egg tarts, still warm from the oven, sometimes stretch down the block. But there’s no need to live near a Chinatown to enjoy warm, flaky egg tarts—you can make similar oven-fresh egg tarts by following this recipe, which uses frozen piecrust to cut down on preparation time.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 1 frozen rolled piecrust
- All-purpose flour, for dusting
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup whole milk
- ½ cup caster sugar, or substitute granulated sugar finely ground in
- a food processor or coffee grinder
- 1½ teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 large egg yolks
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- special equipment
- 1 mini muffin pan
- Defrost the piecrust according to the package instructions. Roll out the crust onto a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough so that it doubles in surface area and is about ⅛ inch thick. Use a cookie cutter or tall drinking glass that is 1½ inches wider than the muffin pan cups to cut the dough into rounds. Press the rounds firmly into the pan, pulling the dough up the sides of the muffin cups, being careful not to overstretch.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Stir together the heavy cream and milk. Stir in the caster sugar and cornstarch until everything is dissolved.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Add the yolks to the heavy cream mixture and stir until well incorporated. Strain the mixture into another bowl to remove any remaining solids. Stir in the vanilla extract.
- 5Carefully fill the muffin cups about three quarters of the way with egg mixture. Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until the custard is cooked through. Test the doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center; the custard is set if the toothpick can stand up on its own.
- Remove the tarts from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes. Remove the tarts from the muffin pan and transfer them to a wire rack to cool for another 5 to 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. The egg tarts will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.