Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Flaky Egg Tarts

If you are a Dim Sum lover, you will recognise these delectable tarts and if you frequent the Dim Sum restaurants, you will know that these tarts disappear fast.  If you do not ask the waitress to reserve some when they are out of the oven, you will not have any.  You must be wondering why, after so many years of baking, it is only now that i am posting these egg tarts.  I have to admit that these tarts are one of the most difficult of all the bakings i have baked.  It was quite challenging and the family had been eating the not so pretty products, they tasted good but just not presentable.  One would think that the recipe was at fault but no, it was me, not that proficient - first the pastry had to be mastered - good rolling skills and patience needed.  The best part of these tarts was the flaky pastry, it has to be flaky of course, although the custard had to br right too.  This marriage will be in a very rough situation and not very forgiving if not worked properly.  To make this marriage work, the thickness of the pastry had to be right, too thick - there will not be enough room for the custard, too thin - the flakiness in the pastry will not be effective. Docking the pastry was my greatest regret.  i must have poked too hard and the custard seeped through, making the tart impossible to remove from the mold.  Then the baking - know your oven - a hot oven to me worked best and baked these tarts at the last third of the rung in your oven, this will ensure that the pastry will get browned and the custard being further away from the top elements will not get cooked before the pastry.  Lower the heat after 15 minus to finish cooking the custard to perfection and this did not mean that the whole tray of tarts will be ready at the same time, uneven hot spots in the oven are to be blamed and this is a common fact.  You would have to remove the tarts accordingly and leave the uncooked ones to finish baking.  Accordingly means that the tarts with firm custard around the rim and will jiggle slightly in the middle,  are to be taken out of the oven.  When or if the custard in some of the tarts should puff. open the oven door to lower the oven temperature.  These tarts have to be baby-sat for the last part of the baking and they can be moved around for even baking - do not move them if the custard is not firm around the edges, otherwise another regret, the uncooked custard will spill over causing ????????.

Do not let this lengthy jabber hinder you from trying to bake some, just heed my advise and you will produce the most delicious tarts ever.


Lard Dough

4 ozs lard - melted and kept lukewarm
5 ozs all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt

Mix the above ingredients and put it into a sandwich zip-loc bag.  Press dough flat to fit the bag, leaving about 3/4 - 1 inch away from the top. This will be about 5 x 6 inches.

Leave in the fridge to firm up for at least 1 hour.

Water Dough

6 ozs all purpose flour
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 1/2 ozs chilled butter - cut into small cubes
1 egg yolk
3 tbsp iced water - more if flour is too dry

Combine flour, sugar and salt in a food processor.  Pulse a few times to mix the ingredients well.

Add in the cold cubed butter and pulse.  Pulse until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Beat the egg yolk with the iced water and add in to the flour and butter mixture.  Pulse until a dough forms.  Add more water if necessary, some loose flour is fine.

Remove from food processor and put into a Gallon Zip-loc bag.  Flatten dough to fill the bag but roll the height to 8 inches only.  Leave in the fridge for gluten to relax for at least 1 hour.

Rolling the Pastry:

Take the water dough from the fridge and cut the gallon bag open.  Place dough onto to lightly flour surface and make a mark  the longer side into 3 equal parts.

Take the lard dough from the fridge and cut open the sandwich bag.  Place dough on to the middle of 2 equal parts of the water dough.  Fold the last equal part of the water dough over half of the lard dough and then fold the other half of the lard dough together with the water dough over.  Seal the edges well.
Let dough rest in the fridge for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Place dough with narrow side facing you,  using the rolling pin, press lightly at intervals to roll to a rectangular 8 x 10 inchs.  Fold bottom third of dough over and bring top third down.  Press narrow edges firmly to seal and cool in fridge for 30 minutes.  This is the FIRST rolling.

Repeat roll and 3 folds TWICE.  Cool in fridge after eaching rolling.

To line the Tarts: Moulds

Place dough on a lightly floured surface.  Roll dough till 1/8 inch and using a round cutter which is 1/2 inch bigger than the circumference of the tart mould. Place the cut circle dough into the tart mold.  Try to center the dough to the center of the tart mould and press lightly on the sides to get impression from the fluted moulds.  Prepared tarts have to be chilled in the fridge for at least 1 hour before baking and at this stage, it can remain chilled for a day and if longer they have to be frozen - wrapped tightly with a few layers of plastic wrap.

To make the Custard:

8 ozs sugar
4 tbsps condensed milk
2 cups water
4 large eggs
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp custard powder mix with 1 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine 2 cups water, condensed milk and sugar and cook till sugar dissolves and milk is heated through. 

Mix custard powder with 1 tbsp water and add in beaten eggs and vanilla extract.  Mix well.

Pour the hot milk sugar mixture gradually into the egg mixture and stir well.

Cook over low heat, stirring all the time, until the custard has thicken slightly but is still runny.  Instead of the stovetop, the microwave can be used, 1 minute at a time, stirring after every interval).  Sieve this mixture and allow to cool before using to prevent bubbles forming while baking.

To Bake Egg Tarts:

Preheat oven to 450f. 

Place chilled tarts onto a baking tray and pour custard into tarts, 80% full, do not overfill, regrets and regrets!!!!!!

Bake for 15 minutes on 450f and then reduce the oven temperature to 275f to continue baking for another 10 - 15 minutes or until the pastry is browned and the custard is cooked ( read notes on the top of page)


lena said...

your tarts look amazing!! one of the best egg tarts so far..!

lena said...

oh, btw what is the lard that you used?

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Thanks for sharing this lily! Will try this recipe soon. 

lilyng said...


i used store-bought lard from walmart or target

Janine said...

Your recipes never fail to impress me! I tried a cheater's version of egg tarts using normal tart dough and already it tasted like pretty good - I can't imagine how yours taste like!

ping said...

These look so professional! Sounds like a tough one to make. Maybe I'll wait a while before I attempt this. Great job!!

Reese Darragh said...

Well done, Aunt Lily! That looks like the real McCoy! Will definitely try making that and share with you the results.

backyana said...

They look so delectable! I saw that you did not grease the mould. How did you remove the egg tarts? For me this step is very tricky and I failed. Need your advice!!



lilyng said...


the tart molds don't need greasing, the dough is oily enough. The tart gets stuck if there is an overspill, so do not fill with too much custard.

pricillia3 said...

I really want to make this recipe, your recipes are amazing :) . Is there any way I can subtitute the custard powder? In the place where i live now they not have custard powder.
Thank you

lilyng said...


just sub with the same amount of cornstarch and a tiny drop of yellow food coloring

Anonymous said...

great recipe! thank you so much!
to prevent the custard to burn before the dough becomes flaky, is it possible to bake the dough first, then pour the custard filling later?

lilyng said...


i think the puff pastry will puff up too much without the custard.

joolian said...

Lily, I take my hat off to you and your amazing perseverance to get a recipe right. It's obvious you're a perfectionist and we are all very fortunate that you are willing to share your expertise and knowledge. I think I speak for everyone when I say thank you from the bottom of our collective hearts!

pricillia3 said...

I not have a food processor, Is there anyway I can make it with By hands?

Is there any specials things to do when I do it by hands?
Thank you

lilyng said...


nothing special, it is done like any pastry dough. Rub in the cold butter and add in the water a little at a time, until a dough can be compressed.

Anonymous said...

Hello Lily

Thanks for this recipe. It is really melt in the mouth and nice. However the water dough when I handle it was easily breakable and soft although I only put 1 1/2 tsp of iced water. Is it supposed to be like that?
I do not have frozen lard. So I used the fresh lard where I melt it. The amount used on the fresh lard is only about 55g which is enough to bind the flour.

lilyng said...


Melted lard is liquid so you used less water and water is needed to build up some gluten so that the dough is pliable. you could use melted lared but put it in the freezer to solidify it.

Anonymous said...

Hello Lily

Thanks for the tips. So after I melt the lard, will freeze it. Then after it solidify do I then rub into the flour to be like breadcrumb?

I hope to have a 2nd try to have a more manageable dough as it is so easily breakable when I put into the tart mould. Hence the egg custard is spilling and stick to the mould. But but the texture is so wonderful. Crumbly, soft and melt in the mouth and yet crunchy. Really love the pastry. Thanks. Been hunting this flaky egg tart for very long time.


lilyng said...


like i have mentioned, this is a very challenging recipe. You will get it, practice makes perfect.

Anonymous said...

Hello! This is my first time making egg tart and I have a question about the lard dough. My lard dough came out still greatly lard-looking and feeling, and not much of a "dough" look/feel. I followed what you have written and I would like to know if the lard dough is suppose to be like that? Thank you.


lilyng said...


don't be alarmed about the texture, it is sort of running when it is first mixed cos the lard is warm. put it in the fridge for a couple of hours or in the freezer, it will firm up and ready to go

Vivian said...

Hello Lily,

I’ve been looking for a real Hong Kong style flaky egg tart for years. Once I saw your egg tarts picture; I decided to try out the recipe. Unfortunate, I didn’t know which part of process I’d done wrong; the crust was crumbly and soft (but melted in the mouth) instead of flaky. I'll give the recipe a second try.

Wouldn’t you mind to explain the following sentences in Rolling the Pastry section? “…Fold the last equal part of the water dough over half of the lard dough and then fold the other half of the lard dough together with the water dough over. Seal the edges well.” Did you mean to cover the lard dough with the water dough then sealed in a Zip-loc bag? Also, what’s the purpose for “…Press narrow edges firmly to seal…” before cooling in the fridge?

Thank you for the recipe and wish you a Merry Christmas!

lilyng said...


when you roll out the water dough into a rectangle to the size suggested. Make 2 marks on the long side therefore marking the dough into thirds. The oil dough should be rolled into slightly smaller than the 2/3 size of the water dough. Put this oil dough over the oil dough which should cover 2/3. Then fold the 1/3 of water dough over the oil dough, covering 1/3 of the oil dough, then fold the other 1/3 oil dough over to form a rectangle. Seal the edges of this rectangle, so that the oil will not seep through, as this oil is there to form the layers.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lily,

Thank you very much for your recipe. The pictures of the tarts are making my mouth water lol! Im not particularly good at baking but these tarts look so good i cant resist not trying! However, im completely lost after making the dough. When you have time to remake these is it possible to take step by step pictures of the rolling and folding process? ~"~


Janat Yousof said...

Hi, Lily, this looks great! Where can I get the cutter and the tart moulds. Any advice would be appreciated.


Janat Yousof said...

Hi, Lily,

thank you for the recipe. Can you advice on where to purchase the cutter and the tart moulds. I live in Southern California.

lilyng said...

Janat Yousof

the moulds in the picture are brought here from Malaysia. I know you can get tart moulds from the chinese stores which sells all kitchen stuffs - like kamee. Bed Bath and Beyond has them and if online go to

Anonymous said...

Hi Aunt Lily,

Can I subtitute Lard with something else? i cant find lard at the place where I live.
thank you



Anonymous said...

Hi: Thank you for sharing this recipe! Could I use butter instead of lard?

lilyng said...


absolutely use butter if you wish

Ivy said...

Thank you for the recipe. I used ghee instead of lard and the pastry was really really flaky.I didn't use this custard recipe but the other one with the short crust pastry.

Anonymous said...

I do not have the small tart moulds
but I have a big tart mould. Is it possible to make one big egg tart instead of small ones?


lily ng said...


Absolutely, but the baking has to longer cos it is a bigger tart

Anonymous said...

I just made the egg tarts according to your recipe . Although they are not as good looking as yours but they taste very nice .
Could you please give me the right size of your mould ( the width and the heigth . I think maybe I don't have the right mould .
Thank you for sharing all your tips .


Cheryl Wong said...

Hi Lily,

I tried to make it recipe today. The water dough seems a bit weird to me. I made this type of dough before but the texture wasn't the same. Is the water dough is not going to build up much gluten? I tried to work out almost more than 10 min, but not much gluten was built up and it tore apart easily... Is this suppose to be like this?

Thanks. Please advice.


lily ng said...

The gluten does not have to be developed as it will develop when you roll the dough

Manda said...

how many tarts can you make with this recipe

lily ng said...


i am sorry i cannot tell how many tarts are made from this recipe. if you want perfect looking tarts, then it will be about 8 tarts cos the balance of the dough (which does not make so layered pastry) is reserved for recipes which do not require layers.

Mickey said...

Hi Lily, I followed your recipe and the egg tarts turned out flaky & scrumptious!! We love it, I will have to improve the shaping next round, practice makes perfect! This is truly
a recipe keeper. Thank you for sharing.

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