My Ultimate Flaky Egg Tarts

I think these egg tarts are suffering from an identity crisis.

You see, these are inspired by the Hong Kong style dim sum egg tarts. The pastry is a Chinese style puff pastry, not unlike the French version in terms of technique, but the pastry is slightly easier to manage and more forgiving. Yet we use butter here, like the French, instead of shortening or lard typical in the Chinese style pastry.

The egg custard filling is a Japanese custard pudding, also known as purlin. I shared the recipe here once before.

And these egg tarts look just like the Portuguese custard egg tarts, baked in muffin tins and to golden perfection.

So is it Chinese, French, Japanese or Portuguese? Are you as confused as these egg tarts. No matter. It has everything I seek in an ultimate egg tart. The pastry that shatters into crispy flaky buttery shards. The creamy vanilla egg custard with caramelise patches of Instagram drool worthy perfection. And the perfect egg to pastry ratio.

If you are looking for the recipe to the ultimate flaky egg tarts, look no further, try this. I even add the (almost) step by step photos to give you courage to make these. And for reference, I give you the link to the flaky pastry post from Dreamers Loft where the pastry recipe originates. You are welcome.

My Ultimate Flaky Egg Tarts
(Flaky pastry adapted from Dreamers Loft. Japanese Custard Filling I shared here.)

Makes 6 muffin size tarts

Flaky Pastry
Fat Dough
160 grams unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
100 grams plain flour

Water Dough
60 grams plain flour
20 grams bread flour
5 grams custard powder
10 grams egg (Note: beat 1 egg, measure 10 grams egg, and reserve the remaining egg for the filling)
40 grams cold water

 350 grams milk
1 vanilla pod, halved and seeds scraped
1 whole egg (or remaining egg from the water dough)
2 egg yolks
50 grams caster sugar

To make fat dough component of the flaky pastry:
Place butter and plain flour in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.

Pour mixture on a cling film, working quickly with your hands, gently squash/press the mixture together to form a dough, wrap dough with cling film, and quickly shape dough to roughly 10cm x 12cm rectangle. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. On a hot day, you might need to refrigerate the dough for longer until dough is firm.

To make water dough component of the flaky pastry:
Combine plain flour, bread flour and custard powder in a large bowl. Combine egg and water in a small bowl, add to flour mixture, mix until a rough dough forms. Turn dough on a lightly flour-dusted surface and knead dough until smooth, about 3-5minutes. Wrap dough with cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (Oh, if you notice that the water dough is smaller than the fat dough and you wonder if that is right since the water dough is suppose to be outer layer. Yes. Yes, it is correct.)

Now the fun part. To make flaky pastry:
On a flour-dusted surface, with a rolling pin, roll the water dough slightly three times larger than the fat dough, about 30cm x 16cm rectangle.

Place the fat dough in the centre on top of the water dough.

Fold over the water dough to wrap and enclose the fat dough. Press all seams to seal.

With a rolling pin, gently and evenly roll out the parcel into a 30cm x 20cm rectangle. Lightly dust with flour as required to ensure the pastry does not stick to the rolling pin or the work surface.

Fold one third left.

And then one third over it. Note that you will get 3 layers. Wrap pastry in cling film, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and until firm.

Repeat the above folding one more time - Roll out pastry into 30cm long and 20cm wide. Don't forget to lightly dust with flour as required. Repeat one third fold left and one third over it as above. Wrap pastry in cling film, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and until firm.

Now the final turn. Roll out pastry into 34cm long and 20cm wide.

Fold one quarter left to centre of pastry, and the other quarter right.

Fold pastry in half like a book. Note that you will get 4 layers for this last turn. Wrap pastry in cling film, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until firm.

Roll out pastry into roughly 1/4 inch thick and 30cm x 30cm, big enough for 6 nos 10cm circles to line the muffin tins.

Cut out circles with cookie cutter and line the pastry in the muffin tins. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Meanwhile make filling:
Place milk, vanilla seeds and pod in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 6 to 8 minutes or until it just comes to the boil (small bubbles will form at edge of pan). Remove from heat. Remove vanilla pod.

Place the egg, egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk until well combined. Gradually add the hot milk mixture, whisking to combine. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a pouring jug. Refrigerate and allow to cool completely.

To bake:
Preheat oven to 180 degree celcius fan-forced.

Pour cooled filling in prepared pastry cases. And baked for 30 minutes or until pastry is golden and caramelise patches appear on the custard. Serve while still warm.


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