Egg Custard Tarts

One of my favorite things to eat in New York on a Sunday morning was some delicious Chinatown dim sum. Whenever we'd go, my boyfriend would always devour the egg custard tarts. So I was curious to see if I could make them myself. They're more popular in China and Great Britain than in the States, I had to improvise a little, translating a Paul Hollywood recipe from metric system to the U.S. system.

These were little heartbreaking buggers to make. Of the twelve I made, six couldn't keep themselves together out of the pan. I was surprised by how sloppy they looked too, compared to the lovely perfect ones Paul made:

However I have been called a perfectionist, so despite being a little messy, they did taste just as egg custard tarts should.

For the pastry:
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup butter, cold and unsalted
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
For the custard:
3 cups milk
7 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of ground nutmeg

1. Combine the flour and ground almonds in a bowl.

2. Add the butter and mix until it looks like dry sand, then add in the sugar.

3. Add the whole egg and mix thoroughly, finally bringing the dough to a ball shape.

4. Place the dough on a floured surface and form into a disk shape refrigerate 1/2 hour.

5. Preheat the oven to 400 F.

** I knew that these would be hard to get out, so I lined the tins with strips of parchment paper to help get them out. I highly recommend doing this!

6. Roll out the pastry into a large 1/8 inch thick circle.

7. Using a 4 1/2 inch cutter (way larger than you would expect) cut out circles of the pastry and carefully line the muffin tin. The pastry needs to reach all the edges of the tin and come slightly over the top. Place in the fridge while you make the custard.

8. For the custard, warm the milk in a sauce pan until just warm to the touch (think luke warm).

9. Beat the 7 egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a separate bowl until pale and creamy.

10. Carefully add the milk to the egg/sugar mixture, making sure to stir vigorously, you don't want the yolks to curdle.

11. Put the custard in a pouring jug or use a measuring spoon and carefully pour the custard into the molds. You want the custard to stay in the pastry, if any spills along the sides, the custard will cause the entire tart to stick to the pan.
12. Add a pinch of nutmeg over each tart.
13. Bake for about 30 minutes. For the last 10 minutes I reduced the heat to 350 F, as they were looking pretty brown and I didn't want to curdle the custard. You know you've over done them if they balloon up too much.
14. Let them cool for 30 minutes before trying to get them out. Seriously. Wait. The custard has to set completely before these things can stand up on their own.

Alright so these do look pretty rough. I will definitely have to try again on these, because I wasn't satisfied.


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