Crafts to Crumbs

Home Adventures of a Lao American

RecipesSweet World

Hong Kong Egg Tarts

Egg tarts are a Chinese custard tart derived from Portuguese tarts. They are a popular bakery item and a dim sum staple. Made with a Chinese puff pastry, the tart is flaky with a silky-smooth filling. They are great for desserts, teatime, or Sunday brunch.

I started the process of testing with recipe with the Portuguese tarts and worked my way over. Making the Chinese puff pastry does take some practice, so as usual, my notes are below.


Dough – the dough that I made for this recipe is a version of Chinese puff pastry similar to doughs that are used for mooncakes. If you are short on time (or patience), you can make a simple pie crust. Or even use premade, store-bought pie crust or puff pastry. But if you want a Hong Kong style egg tart, it should have the flaky layers.
Water dough – add water 1 tablespoon of water at a time. You may not need as much depending on many variables like the liquid from the egg or humidity.

• Milk – you can use regular whole milk or half and half to substitute for the evaporated milk. I would keep it at a 1:1 ratio.
Simple syrup – make sure the water is hot to dissolve the sugar. But make sure the syrup has cooled completely, otherwise the egg yolks will get cooked/scrambled in the process.
• Make ahead – you can make the filling ahead of time (2-3 hours) and refrigerate. This will allow the filling to rest and any air bubbles to escape. You can make the puff pastry dough up to 24 hours ahead. If you make the filling ahead of time, make sure to take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature before baking. This will contribute to deflation in the custard.
• Sinking Filling – There are many factors that can contribute to the filling sinking or deflating after cooling. I’ve observed two during the few times that I tested this recipe. First is overcooking the tarts. I’ve tested the recipe with many temperatures and find it’s easier to overcook the tarts when you start with a higher temperature. But I also found that the crust did not bake properly to get that flakiness when I baked the tarts at 350F for the whole bake time. Baking time varies by oven, elevation, and equipment. Bake until the filling is set and no longer jiggly when you shake the pan. As always cook time, if vary depending on oven, equipment, and even elevation. If you start to see the filling puff up and crack, it’s properly already overbaked. Second thing that I’ve observed is if the filling temperature is too cold, it can contribute to deflating as well. If you decide to make the filling ahead of time, make sure to let it sit and room temperature before using it in the recipe.
• Store in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, reheat in the oven 325F for about 5-7 minutes.

Egg Tarts

Time: 1.5 hours
Yields: 12 tarts

Dough A (oil/butter dough)
1 (120g) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
14 tablespoons (200g) cold unsalted butter, cubed

Dough B (water dough)
1 ¼ cup (150g) all-purpose flour
1 egg
3-4 tablespoons cold water (more or less as needed)
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt

5 egg yolks
1 can (5oz/ 147ml) evaporated milk
½ cup (118ml) hot water
1/3 cup (67g) sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• Prepare dough A, by combining flour and sugar in a medium bowl. Add in the butter and mix by hand or using pastry cutter until you get a coarse crumb texture that looks almost like almond flour with pieces of butter still visible. Press dough together to form a flat rectangle and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
• Prepare dough B by combining flour, sugar, and salt. Mix. Make a well in the center. Then add the egg. Slowly add in the water, one tablespoon at a time and mix until combined before adding more. Knead until smooth. Form into a flat rectangle about the same size as dough A. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
• While the doughs chill in the fridge, prepare the filling.
• Make a simple syrup. In a small bowl, combine sugar and salt. Add the hot water and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Let cool completely.
• In a medium bowl, add egg yolks, evaporated milk, simple syrup, and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine. Pour over a sieve to get a smooth mixture. Set it aside.
• Preheat oven to 400F.
• Remove the dough from the fridge. Roll dough B (water dough) into a large rectangle, at least 2-3 times the size of dough A. Place dough A in the center, on top of dough B. Then fold the two ends of dough B over dough A like folding a letter.

• Roll the combined dough into a rectangle and fold into thirds like folding a letter. Roll out again. Repeat at least three or four more times, to create the layers. If you find the dough getting warm, place the dough back in the refrigerator and let it chill before continuing.
• After the third or fourth time, roll the dough into a large rectangle. Using a 4-inch biscuit cutter, cut out 12 circles. Press the dough rounds into a cupcake pan. Fill with the filling mixture. Do not overfill.
• Bake in the preheated oven at 400F for 10 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 350F and bake for another 20 minutes or until the center is set and does not jiggle if shaken and crust has a golden color.
• Remove the pan from the oven. Let it cool in the pan for a couple of minutes. Remove the tarts from the pan and cool on a cooling rack.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.