I have this strange love-hate relationship with egg tart, stemming from this period during my teenage years when my Dad went through this crazy egg tart phase. For months it went on that he would buy one box of Lord Stow’s Egg Tarts every single Sunday, and then during afternoon teatime he would gather us around to finish the box off together. Us kids would gobble them up in a matter of seconds. At first I loved this weekly snack-time routine because Lord Stow’s back then made really mean egg tarts (not so sure now since I haven’t had one in a loooooong time).
Despite loving these afternoons of family bonding, after so many weeks I guess I developed some sort of distaste– that sounds kind of harsh, aversion?– to egg tarts. I started getting annoyed by the “egginess” of its smell and flavour. I began wanting nothing more than to shun it out of my life. By the time my Dad graduated from this phase, much to my relief, I didn’t even want to get a glimpse of egg tarts in what I hoped would be a long while. Good thing the adage ‘Time heals [nearly] all wounds’ is a tried and tested maxim in my life, and apparently it also applies to my food experiences… Maybe I just needed some time off?
Fast forward to many years later, I was lounging around and flipping through the May issue of Yummy magazine when I see the feature on the Egg Tarts. Looking at the spread, my reaction was not quite what I expected: After the nostalgia caused as my mind strolled down memory lane followed the strong urge to make egg tarts.
As you are all aware, it was Father’s Day last Sunday so I thought it would be the perfect time to share this recipe because of the story attached to it involving my Dad. It’s funny because my Dad has this habit of getting into “Food Phases”, where he would keep buying the same thing for a certain period of time. After egg tarts, I remember him going into a Beard Papa cream puff phase. (That one I didn’t mind so much until Bread Papa‘s cream puff quality kind of went down the drain for its local franchise. But let’s tell that story another time.)
My Dad is actually on a grand vacation right now cruising from the Rockies to Alaska, and I made these egg tarts the week before he left. The main reason why I wanted to make this was because I remember how much my Dad liked them, and thanks to this newfound habit I developed when I started food blogging, I always want to attempt at home all the food my family likes to buy outside. These egg tarts are no Lord Stow copycat but they did get a thumbs up from my Dad nonetheless.
Instead of the usual puff pastry shell, we first create a much easier flaky tart shell similar to those used in normal pies. But what’s different about these tarts is the texture of the custard. I find it indeed creamier as the magazine write-up claims, and you can cut through the custard with a fork very smoothly. It’s a bit more substantial and doesn’t go soft and break off into slimy pieces on you like a typical egg tart does when you cut or bite through the middle. (Don’t know if I’m the only one being nit-picky about this.)
As for the taste, this version- again thanks to the condensed milk- has a smoother milky finish that is a bit on the sweeter side. The egg flavour that is the main characteristic of the egg tart is of course still there, but in a not at all overwhelming manner which I prefer. It was a good balance of eggy-ness and sweetness and butteriness, making it really too easy to devour.
Makes about 8 egg tarts
For the pie pastry
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
- 1 Tablespoon shortening
- 1 Tablespoon ice cold water, plus more as needed
For the custard filling
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup condensed milk
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the pie pastry
- 1. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl; stir to mix. Scatter butter and shortening over the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender or fork toss flour to coat, then cut in butter and shortening. The mixture should form large coarse crumbs the size of peas.
- 2. Drizzle ice-cold water over the mixture. Toss with the pastry blender until the dough is evenly moist and begins to come together in a mass, but does not quite form a ball.
- 3. Transfer the dough to a clean work surface, and roll dough to form a disc. Wrap disc tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour to overnight.
Prepare the tart shells
- 4. Once dough is ready, let it sit at room temperature for at least 10 to 15 minutes to soften. Roll dough between two sheets of parchment paper until 1/8-inch thick and 5 inches in diameter. Cut out rounds using a 3-inch cookie cutter.
- 5. Divide the dough among 2-inch individual tart pans and allow the dough to take the shape of the molds. Press the dough into the edges, then gently prick the bottom of the tarts using a fork. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for about 20 to 30 minutes.
- 6. While the dough is refrigerating, preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
- 7. Place aluminum foil over the chilled dough and gently mold them to shape. Add pie weights like grains or dried beans, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and weights; then bake for another 10 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 20 to 30 minutes.
- 8. Increase oven temperature to 400°F (205°C) and preheat.
Finish the tarts
- 9. Combine all filling ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk until well combined, then strain if desired. Fill cooled tart shells with the egg mixture until about 80-percent full.
- 10. Bake egg tarts for 15 to 20 minutes or until the filling has set and some golden brown spots can be seen on the surface.
I think I may be well on my way to regaining my lost taste for egg tarts.