These Homemade Chinese Egg Tarts contain a lightly sweetened baked egg custard baked in a pastry shell. Bite into the flaky, crisp shell to reveal a sweet and delicately smooth egg custard filling.
One of my favourite Chinese bakery treats is Chinese Egg Tarts.
They hold a special place in my heart -- it was one of the foods that my now-hubby brought for our first date, which was a picnic in the park during spring time.
What are egg tarts?
They are a baked Chinese pastry tart filled with a silky, smooth egg custard.
Cantonese Egg Tarts are commonly found in dim sum restaurants as well as Chinese bakeries.
The tarts are lightly sweet with a predominantly eggy taste.
2 styles of egg tarts:
There are two common variations of Chinese egg tarts:
Hong Kong (Cantonese) style egg tarts
Cantonese-style egg tarts are made with a butter/lard short crust pastry or puff pastry.
Macau (Portuguese) style egg tarts
Portuguese egg tarts are based off the pastel del nata and feature a torched/bruleed surface.
Why you'll love this recipe
This egg tart recipe is the Cantonese/Hong Kong style which features a short crust pastry for the tart shell.
It yields a smooth and silky custard that is lightly sweetened.
You can make it with milk powder or with whole milk.
Ingredients you'll need
The tart shell pastry dough:
- all-purpose flour: regular all-purpose flour will work perfectly fine
- butter: use an unsalted butter for this pastry; slightly softened at room temperature so it combines with the rest of the ingredients.
- icing sugar: also known as powdered sugar; adds a little sweetness to the pastry; you can use half the amount of granulated sugar instead.
- vanilla extract: adds a little flavour to the pastry dough; you can omit if you like
- a little bit of egg: helps bind the pastry dough together
The custard egg filling:
- egg: lightly beaten egg
- dry milk powder: adds additional milk flavour
- hot water: it's important that the water is hot, so that it can dissolve the sugar and milk powder without any lumps
- granulated sugar: adds sweetness to the egg custard
- vanilla extract: again, adds some flavour to the custard.
- yellow goldenberry powder: optional, for colour; you can use a little saffron; I don't recommend turmeric since it may impart a bitter flavour to the custard.
Note: you can substitute the hot water + milk powder for whole milk.
How to make it
First, make the pastry dough for the tart shells:
Combine softened butter with icing sugar in a bowl.
Add in a little beaten egg and vanilla extract.
Next, add in the all-purpose flour and combine until it comes together. If the dough appears dry, add a little more beaten egg.
Roll out the dough to about 5mm thickness.
Use a round cooking cutter about 2" in diameter to cut out pastry rounds.
Place the rounds into a fluted tart tin and gently press the bottom and up the sides, while turning the tin to ensure it is even.
Place the tart shells into the freezer while working on the custard filling.
Next, make the egg custard filling:
Combine hot water with the milk powder and sugar. Whisk to dissolve the sugar and milk powder.
In a measuring cup, beat the egg and vanilla extract.
Pour the milk and sugar mixture into the egg mixture and whisk until combined.
The mixture should be smooth and not grainy.
Pour the mixture through a sieve twice to remove any air bubbles.
Remove the tart shells from the freezer and pour about 2 ½ tablespoon of egg custard into each tart, being careful not to overfill.
Bake in a preheated oven at 400F for the first 10-15 minutes, until the shell turns golden.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350F.
When the custard begins to puff up, open the oven door a few inches and continue baking until set, another 10-15 minutes.
Tips & tricks
Tip: Don't overbake the egg tarts.
How to remove all the bubbles from the custard?
To ensure a smooth surface, strain the egg mixture through a sieve twice.
This will help remove any excess air bubbles.
How to know when the egg tart is done?
Stick a wooden toothpick in the centre of the egg tart, and if it stands up on its own, it's ready.
Why does the oven door need to be opened?
This helps to even out the temperature so that the custard doesn't overly puff up, which results in cracks/sinking once cooled.
Can I double the recipe?
Yes, you can easily double the recipe to make 12 tarts.
Can I freeze the tarts?
No, don't freeze egg tarts.
You can freeze the tart shell pastry, but not with the baked egg custard filling.
The texture of the egg tart will not hold up after the freezing process.
Do I have to make my own pastry?
You can use a store-bought pastry shell if you wish.
How to serve & store
Chinese egg tarts are best enjoyed on the same day, preferably fresh out of the oven, while warm.
Pair the egg tarts with a HK-style Milk Tea, or have it as part of some dim sum favourites:
You can store the egg tarts at room temperature for up to 1 day. It's best to enjoy them the same day they're made.
If you have leftover egg tarts, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Other Chinese bakery recipes you may enjoy
Let me know if you try out this recipe -- tag me on Instagram @siftandsimmer or leave me a comment/rating below.
Chinese Egg Tarts
- 6 fluted 2.5" tart tins
For accuracy and precision in baking recipes, use weight (metric) measurements when available.
- 40 g unsalted butter slightly softened
- 18 g icing sugar
- 18 g beaten egg (about ⅓rd egg)
- 1 ml vanilla extract
- 75 g all-purpose flour
Egg Custard (filling):
- 75 ml hot water
- 15 g dry milk powder
- 75 ml whole milk warmed
- 20 g granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon yellow goldenberry powder optional, for colouring
Make the pastry:
- Add the softened butter and sugar to a bowl. Use a fork to combine.
- Add in the beaten egg and vanilla extract, using a spatula to mix.
- Add in the flour and knead together until a dough forms.
- Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 5mm.
- Use a round cookie cutter about 2" in diameter and cut out 6 rounds.
- Line the bottom of the fluted tart tin with the pastry dough. Gently press the dough into the tin and slightly up the edges, while turning the tin so that it's even.
- Repeat with the remainder.
- Chill the pastry in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.
Make the egg custard filling:
- Combine the hot water, milk powder, and sugar in a bowl. Whisk to dissolve the milk powder and sugar.
- If using warm milk, add in the sugar and whisk to dissolve.
- Beat the egg with the vanilla extract in a measuring cup.
- Note: if you want a stronger yellow hue to the filling, add a little bit of yellow goldenberry powder to the egg mixture.
- Pour the milk and sugar into the egg mixture, whisking to combine. The mixture should be smooth and not grainy.
- Pour the mixture through a sieve twice to remove air bubbles.
- Preheat oven to 400°F/204°C.
- Remove the pastry from the freezer.
- Pour in about 2 ½ tablespoon of the egg custard filling into each tart shell.
- Use a spoon to skim off any remaining bubbles.
- Arrange the oven rack position 2nd from the bottom.
- Bake the tarts for 10-15 minutes, until the edges of the tarts begin to turn golden.
- Lower the heat to 350°F/177°C.
- Keep an eye on the tarts.
- When the custard begins to puff up, open the oven door a few inches and continue to bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the tart stands up on its own. Do NOT overbake.
- Remove egg tarts from oven. Let slightly cool.
- Carefully remove tarts from the tin.
- Serve warm or at room temperature. Best enjoyed on the same day.
The nutritional information provided should be considered as approximate and is not guaranteed. Please use your best judgment to ensure food is safely prepared and/or a good fit for your diet.