酥皮蛋撻: Flaky Egg Tarts

Planning your Egg Tart Making Day

Making egg tart is more a life-style choice than a culinary activity. While it takes an afternoon, you are only actively cooking for about 1-2 hours all together. There are A LOT of rest periods.

So pick a day to stay home all day in your PJs. Put on your favourite binge-worthy TV or movie series, or an old-friend of a book who would smile rather than frown when you leave it for a few minutes every 20 minutes or so, or better yet, find a human friend to play you and your tasty playdough.

IMG_20161203_143820730

The Recipe

This recipe was modified from two sources. As you might notice, it is a hybrid version since I adore the Hong Kong egg tart’s flaky crust, and absolutely love the creamy Macau/Portuguese custard.

This recipe makes 40 egg tarts. I can’t eat them that fast, even with friends.
What is would do, is that I make all the puff pastry, but half the egg custard recipe.

Then I make 20 egg tarts. Eat approximately 6 in one sitting (c’mon, who spend this much efforts if they are not homesick), give away 10, fight over the last 4 with hubby the next day. They are the best when they are fresh out of the oven.

After the 1st 20 are un-shelled (and while I am eating the 6…), I will clean the cups and put the left over pastry into them, shape them, then freeze them on a half sheet pan. The moment they are frozen, I stack them within the baking cups, and put them in ziptop bags, and keep them in the freezer. Later, namely, when I no longer feel like a fatty, within 2 weeks, I will make another batch with the frozen shells.

The Tools

Some specialised equipment are needed for this very special treat.

  1. Chrysanthemum Baking Cups: I like the reusable ones because the disposable ones tend to not have the signature scalloping (? not sure what the technical term is). The shape is important to the flaking crust, as it maximise the surface area for maximum lift.
  2. Rolling device of some sort. A wine bottle, hard cardboard core of a roll of aluminium foil, a PVC pipe would do. I actually got a serious stainless steel one because I have very hot paws, and which melt the butter as I shape them…
  3. Food processor
  4. Digital scale (yes. I am serious.)
  5. Cling film (A.K.A. Saran wrap)
  6. Aluminium foil, heavy duty preferred
  7. Optional: cooling rack
  8. If you have hot hands, or don’t like to get your hands dirty: food grade nitrite gloves.
  9. Small pot (something that fit in your sink)
  10. One half sheet pan
  11. A sink–a clean sink.
  12. … a refrigerator or a ice-filled cooler

Ingredients

Egg custard

  • 120 g heavy cream, 35% fat (American heavy whipping cream is 36%+ so it would do nicely)
  • 60 g sugar (just under 1/3 cup)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 520 g full-fat fresh milk (approximately 2 + 1/4 cups)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Chinese Puff Pastry

Oil dough

  • 200g of all-purpose flour (approximately 1 + 1/3 cups)
  • 300g of butter–a little over 10oz, about 2.5 sticks (weight varies with quality. The higher the butter quality, the better your Egg Tart. Low-water, high-fat content is ideal. So go with Irish if you can afford it, Amish, if you are so blest to be able to get your hand on it.) 

Water dough

  • 250g of all-purpose flour (approximately 2 cups with change)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 100g of ice water (… approximately 7.2 tbsp… goodness, get a scale, people.)

Methods

Step 1: Chinese Puff Pastry

I loved the video instructions by KP Kwan, so go watch the 1st 5m of that. I will add the following:

  • Between each folding, I placed the dough back in the refrigerator for 20 minutes (hot hands, hot city).
  • Unlike the video, after rolling the dough to 1cm tall, I cut it with a shot-glass (cuz I classy), then roll them out to be 3mm tall. I found this worked better with the Chrysanthemum Baking Cups I have.
  • Keep the dough cool when you are not actively working with them. I often do 3-4 shot-glass cuts, then put the rest of the dough back in the refrigerator as I roll out them out and fit them into the baking cups. Then put the filled baking cups into a large Tupperware and put it in the refrigerator while I work with the next few (again, hot hands, hot city).

Step 2: Make egg custard

  1. Hold the vanilla, combine everything else together in a small pot until smooth.
  2. Make a water bath for you small pot: fill your sink with cold (not icy) water, measure level by your small pot. You want the water level to be such that when you put your small pot with the custard ingredients in it, the pot won’t float and tip and lose its precious cargo.
  3. Place pot over medium-low heat, stir GENTLY (don’t you ever bring violence upon a custard) until it start to coat the wall of the pot thinly. DO NOT BOIL.
  4. Move the pot to the water bath.
  5. Add vanilla extract
  6. Stir gently (again, he who brings violence to a egg custard shall suffer the wrath of the custard in return) until it is no longer steaming, then leave it in the bath to cool completely.

Step 3: Preheat Oven to 395°F  / 200°C

Step 4: Filling and Baking your precious treats

  1. Line a half sheet pan with aluminium foil, shiny side up.
  2. Line up your lovely, filled baking cups in the half sheet pan. Leave at least 1cm space in between
  3. Fill the cups with the custard. DO NOT be greedy, fill no more than 70% (otherwise when the puff pastry rises, it evicts your awesome custard out to be burn on the foil…).
  4. Bake 15 minutes at 200°C/390°F for 15 minutes
  5. Reduce heat to 180°C/360°F, bake for another 10 minutes.
  6. Turn off oven, leave the oven door ajar for 5 minutes then extract the half sheet pan from the oven. (This is an important step to give the custard a time to gather itself before you move it around).
  7. Check to make sure they are solid enough to be touched. If not, let it cool outside of the oven for a few more minutes.
  8.  Take each of the tart, take a fork and insert its tong along the sides, and gently tease it out of the baking cup.
  9. Place each on the cooling rack (if you don’t have one, put it on some sort of surface that allows some ventilation, e.g. sushi mat), place baking cup in the water bath to get it ready for washing.
  10. Eat as many as your conscience allows.
  11. Give away the rest.
  12. If you don’t can’t share all of them, store whatever you won’t be able to eat today. Wait for them to come to room temperature, then place one-story high, in an air-tight container (while this make them less crispy, it is much more important to keep it from absorbing whatever funky odor you have in the refrigerator–imagine, salmon egg tart, ew).

Reheating

This is so crucial.

  1. Microwave (yes, I said that) on medium heat for LITERALLY 15 seconds, no more.
  2. Preheat toaster oven or broiler on high for 5 minutes
  3. Toast for 2 minutes, check to see if flaky, if not, another 1 minute. No more.

Enjoy!

IMG_20161203_144246933.jpg

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s