You Make My Tart Melt: Chinese Egg Custard Dan Tarts

recipe

Chinese Egg Custard Dan Tarts

I love flakey pastry. To me I can see the skill in that, the extra time taken. Plus I love the texture of it when it shatters in my mouth. I also love rich, creamy custard. I think my favourite ever egg custard tart is either Lord Stow's in Macau or Lillian's in Shanghai with Lillian's being perhaps my favourite ever because of the pastry.

Speaking of Chinese things, I recently watched the movie Crazy Rich Asians. Now I'm not normally a big rom com fan, I find myself internally (or sometimes externally) screaming things like, "Totally unrealistic!" or "People don't act like that!" to the screen but it got such great reviews that I thought I'd go and see it.

Chinese Egg Custard Dan Tarts

To my surprise I kind of loved it. Sure, it's unrealistic and people definitely don't act like that. But what I loved is that it was a movie that wasn't a myopic view of Asian people and there wasn't a Caucasian hero that saved the day (it's a thing).

The characters happened to be Asian but that was the extent of it and it wasn't a historical or geisha storyline, it was just a lovely little romance. There were some scenes that mirrored some of my family's scenes and Mr NQN even laughed out loud several times. The theatre was completely full and there was clapping at the end. And I had forgotten how good it was to see people that look like me on screen.

So tell me Dear Reader, have you seen or will you see Crazy Rich Asians? Do you ever see yourself represented on screen? Are you a rom com fan? And what is your must eat item at yum cha?

Chinese Egg Custard Dan Tarts

Chinese Egg Custard Dan Tarts

An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott

Preparation time: 45 minutes with 3.5 hours resting time (in intervals)

Cooking time: 45 minutes

For pastry:

Water dough

  • 150g/5ozs. plain all purpose flour
  • 60g/2.1oz. butter
  • 40g/1.4ozs. sugar
  • 75ml/2.7flozs water

Oil Dough

  • 150g/5ozs. plain all purpose flour
  • 100g/3.5ozs. butter
  • 135g/4.8ozs. lard

For Egg Custard

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour or fine cornstarch
  • 300ml/10.6flozs. milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Chinese Egg Custard Dan Tarts

Water dough

Step 1 - In a food processor, blend the flour, butter and sugar together. Then add water and process until it starts to form a dough. Knead on a surface and roll out between two sheets of parchment to form a largish rectangle that can fit on a baking tray.

Chinese Egg Custard Dan Tarts

Chinese Egg Custard Dan Tarts

Oil dough

Step 2 - In the same processor (no need to wash it), process the flour, butter and lard until you get a sticky dough. Cut out some cling wrap or parchment and spread the mixture out to roughly the same size as the water dough. Place both doughs (I place one on top of another) in the fridge for 2 hours or even overnight.

Chinese Egg Custard Dan Tarts

Step 3 - Take the water dough and place the oil dough on top removing the cling wrap. Allow it to soften a little (it doesn't take long, a few minutes will do) and then fold over like a business envelope. Add more flour as it is quite sticky and then use a rolling pin to flatten out to a rectangle and then repeat two more times.

Chinese Egg Custard Dan Tarts

Chinese Egg Custard Dan Tarts

Chinese Egg Custard Dan Tarts

Step 4 - The next time turn the dough the opposite way and repeat with the rolling and folding. Then cover and allow to rest in the fridge for an hour.

Step 5 - Meanwhile make the custard and allow it to cool. Whisk the eggs, yolk and caster sugar together with the cornflour. Heat the milk until almost boiling and pour in the egg mixture. Allow to thicken stirring with a flat bottomed spatula. Add in vanilla.

Chinese Egg Custard Dan Tarts

Step 6 - Line two 12 cavity muffin trays with papers. Roll out the dough and cut circles out (I used a fluted cutter). Place in the lines and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 220C/440F.

Step 7 - Spoon in the custard and bake for 10 minutes. Then reduce heat to 120C/248F and bake for 17 minutes.

Chinese Egg Custard Dan Tarts