Hong Kong Egg Tart
What is a Hong Kong Egg Tart
Have you tried a Hong Kong egg tart? In China, there are two kinds of egg tarts that are very popular. There’s the Portuguese egg tart which has a caramelized top and a thin layered crispy pastry shell. And then there’s the original, the Hong Kong egg tart that has a milder filling and a pastry crust that is flaky and crumbly.
For Hong Kong egg tarts to taste amazingly delicious, you need to get a few components right. I came across my favorite Hong Kong egg tart in a Chinatown bakery. The tart crust is beautifully layered and super thin. It has just the right amount of cripiness, yet it’s tender and moist. The filling is mild, creamy, and just sweet enough to be washed down with a glass of milk.
Back in the kitchen, our goal is to recreate the perfect Hong Kong egg tart that resembles what you can get at the Chinese bakery.
- 220 g (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
- 100 g (7 tablespoons) chilled unsalted butter , cubed
- 50 g (4 tablespoons) sugar
- 1 g (1/4 teaspoon) salt
- 1 large egg
- 60 g (1/4 cup) ice water
- 150 g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
- 60 g (1/3 cup) shortening
- 40 g (3 tablespoons) unsalted butter , softened
- 200 g (3/4 cup + 3 tablespoons) hot water
- 60 g (1/4 cup) sugar
- 4 large eggs
- Pinch of salt
- 120 g (1/2 cup) evaporated milk
- 4 1/2 ” (11.5cm) Fluted pastry cutter (not required but highly recommended) (*Footnote 1)
- Egg tart mold (Scantily over 2″ on the base, 3″ top for the inner edge, and 3.3″ top for the outer edge)
Read this before you start cooking
The recipe might look super long and the folding method can be a bit hard to understand at a glance. That’s why I took a lot of photos and made a video to help you work through the process.
To sum things up, you will need to:
- Make a water dough (you will need a stand mixer for this)
- Make an oil dough
- Wrap the oil dough with the water dough
- Then roll it out and fold it up
- Repeat the process again, rolling out the dough and folding it up
Then you will get a pastry dough that has super thin layers, does not require refrigeration, and is easy to work with!
Before you begin, you need to get the tinfoil egg tart molds for this recipe. It’s also handy to have a pastry cutter (4 1/2” or 11.5 cm). I recommend it because it will make the whole thing much easier, plus you will have a prettier result.
But if you don’t have a pastry cutter, look below to see my method for forming the tart base without it.
Feel free to make the Hong Kong egg tart dough a few days in advance and then bake it later, depending on when you plan to serve the tarts.
However, you should always make the filling fresh (it’s super easy) and assemble the tarts right before cooking.
Prepare the water dough
- Use your hands to work the butter into the flour
- Add the rest of the ingredients and keep mixing by hand until it forms a dough-like paste
- Knead with a stand mixer until you can pull apart the dough to form a semi-transparent sheet
- Shape the dough, then cover it with plastic wrap to rest
NOTE: the water dough will be very moist and sticky when you mix it at the beginning. That’s why it’s best to use a mixer. You might be able to use a pastry cutter to knead it on the counter too, but that method requires some experience and will take a lot longer.
Prepare the oil dough
- Add all the ingredients together
- Mix with your hands until it forms a dough
- Let it rest
The oil dough is super easy to put together so no mixer is required.
Assemble the pastry dough
This is the fun part! It is quite straightforward if you look at the pictures below.
- Roll out the water dough, so it forms a cross shape, with the center part thicker than the wings
- Plae the oil dough in the center of the cross
- Fold the wings over to cover the oil dough
- It should form a square once folded. The folded part should be almost as thick as the bottom.
- Roll it into a long rectangle
- Fold the two short sides towards the center
- Fold again so it forms a small thick rectangle
- Repeat steps 5 to 7: roll out the dough into a big rectangle, then fold it
Then cover with plastic wrap and rest
NOTE: This pastry dough does not require chilling but you might need to rest it in the fridge if your room is hot. On the other hand, if you chill the dough while it rests, it might become a bit too stiff to work with and might require a few minutes at room temperature to loosen up.
It might sound daunting to make a pastry dough from scratch. But since this process does not require refrigeration or working with a chilled dough, it’s so much easier and faster to put together.
And once it’s done, you can either refrigerate it or freeze it for future use.
Prepare the filling
- Dissolve sugar in hot water to make a syrup
- Once it’s chilled, add the evaporated milk to it
- Beat the eggs until just mixed
- Add the syrup milk mixture to the egg mixture, then mix again
- Drain the mixture through a sieve
It’s very easy to put together the tart filling. The only thing to note is, do not beat the eggs or the mixture too hard, so it’s frothy. You want as few air bubbles as possible so the egg tart will come out smooth.
Assemble the tart
When you’re ready to bake:
- Cut the tart dough into halves and work on one at a time (to prevent from drying out)
- Roll out the dough into a large thin sheet
- Use the pastry cutter to cut 8 pieces
- Move each piece into a tart mold, then gently press it so it covers the mold
- Pour the filling into the tart crust
Once you’ve assembled all the tarts, bake them until the custard sets and the crust is crispy.
Don’t miss out on making Hong Kong egg tarts because they really are so much fun to make. Their tiny size and wonderful flavor make them fun to eat at any time, and they’ll be a sure hit for small gatherings.
This recipe uses a delicate pastry dough and I highly recommend using a scale for measurement instead of cups to achieve the best result.