Saturday, May 23, 2009

Teensy Egg Tarts

Teensy meensy egg tarts. These took a little bit more effort than my usual "lazy" recipes but turned out not too bad at all. Buttery and crumbly crust, although not quite enough custard filling, and the custard could have been a bit more jiggly. However, E took many without prompting, and continued eating one after the other, so I guess that's a kind of endorsement.

The day after I made this, I was reading Thomas Keller's Bouchon, which had a lot of helpful explanations about how to make quiche and why .....and it occurred to me that....egg tarts are actually the same as quiche! In light of this revelation, I have modified the original hit-and-miss recipe below (from Simply Her magazine) to incorporate Thomas Keller's nuggets of wisdom.

Recipe (makes about 23 mini egg tarts)
Pastry Crust: 120g flour, 80g butter, 2 tsp ice water, 1 egg yolk

Custard: 1 egg, 170ml milk, 60g castor sugar

To make the pastry, combine flour and butter and rub gently with fingertips until resembling breadcrumbs. Add ice water and a little of the egg yolk (you will not need the whole yolk) and mix to form a smooth dough. You will find that the dough is rather crumbly so add more liquid as needed for easy handling. Try not to handle or knead the dough too much, as you do not want gluten to form and become elastic/chewy rather than flaky. Chill at least 30 min or overnight before rolling out (in fact, better results if you freeze the dough and bake it still frozen).

When ready, roll the pastry into about 0.5 cm thickness and cut into approx 7 cm diameter circles with a cookie cutter (I use a knife and draw freehand). Fill mini muffin pans with the cut-out pastry circles, and line with dried beans (to keep the pastry from puffing up when it's being baked). Make sure that there are no cracks in the pastry, otherwise, patch it using dough scraps. Bake in a preheated 200 deg C oven for 20 min, until pastry shells are light brown.

Meanwhile, stir the custard ingredients together, ensuring that there are no bubbles. If you like, sieve for a more refined and smoother custard. Do not chill the mixture, it is important that the custard mixture should be at room temperature so that it can start cooking once it is in the oven (or it will saturate the pastry and make it soggy). Pour the custard mix into the baked pastry shells, and bake at 150 deg C, for about 15 - 20 min. The lower temperature allows the custard to set smoothly and not curdle. The custard may sink slightly in the middle upon cooking, if this happens, top up with more custard mix.

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