Chinese Egg Custard Tarts

These are simply fantastic! I first had them when my host and I made an un-planned road-trip to a computer “mall” to have his PC fixed. We were sitting and waiting and, out of nowhere, one of the employees comes out with a small tray of these bright yellow tarts. Before this, I had never seen a Chinese eat a sweet, so I was surprised. And, having forgotten the warning to not eat strange foods from strange sources, I quickly accepted her offer. I downed it in one bite, being the connoisseur of sweets that I am, and was very satisfied. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did! This recipe is from "Dim Sum" by Rhoda Yee. For the Tart Pastry:
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1/4 c. lard
  • 1 egg
  • 6 T. sugar
  • 2 c. sifted all-purpose flour
For the Egg Custard Filling:
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 3 extra large egg yolks
  • 1 c. whole milk
  • 1/2 c. half and half
  • 1 c. sugar

Cream the butter with the lard. Add the egg and sugar. Beat well. Add the flour, 1 cup at a time. The dough will be mealy. Work quickly with your hands to gather the dough into a ball. Knead it lightly so that the mixture adheres. You may chill it at this point while making the filling.

To make the Egg Custard Filling: Be sure all of the ingredients are at room temperature. Beat the whole eggs at low speed with the egg yolks well. Do not over beat. Add the sugar, then milk, then half and half. Let the mixture rest 10-15 minutes. Skim the foam from the mixture. Separate the dough into 24 ball. Press each into a 2 1/2 inch tart shell to an even layer across the bottom and all the way up the sides. Fill the shell with the filling almost to the top. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place the tarts on a cookie sheet and bake them for 45 minutes. Cool for 10-15 minutes. Loosen slightly by inserting a toothpick along the sides. The tart shell should unmold easily.

    It is important that the ingredients for the filling be at room temperature and beaten over a bowl of warm water. Cold ingredients will cause the filling to separate during baking. By skimming off the foam, the custard will have a golden, creamy appearance with a velvety smooth texture which is a most unique and delightful gastronomic treat! Do

    not bake at high heat, as this will cause the custard to bubble up like a balloon and burst.

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