Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Peachy baked

For the past several months, the building next door has been taunting me with the sign, "Crown Prince Dim Sum Restaurant... OPENING SOON". This, plus the fact that our favourite Chinese bakery has been down for renovations since the fall, has resulted in major egg tart cravings.

So I decided to make baked custard tarts.

I started with the pie pastry recipe from my trusty Better Homes and Gardens Baking Book
(shortening, flour and ice water). I made the dough and stuck it in the fridge while I worked on the custard.

I used a baked custard recipe also from BHG (3 eggs, 1/3 cup sugar, 1-1/2 cup milk, vanilla). I did replace the milk with evaporated milk for the authentic Chinese egg tart richness. I cooked the sugar and vanilla in the evaporated milk, waited for the milk to cool down, and whisked the milk mixture into the eggs.

Have I mentioned this bottle of awesome that I use in all of my baking? Vanilla extract from Grenada; a friend got it for me while on vacation.

While waiting for the milk to cool, I rolled out the pastry, cut out tart-sized pieces, and lined a dozen muffin cups. Then I filled the tarts.

I wasn't sure how long to bake them, since I had Frankenstein-ed together several recipes (and to think, I'm always the one nagging reminding the hubby that "Baking is not like cooking! You can't just make it up!"). I stuck them in for 15 mins at 375F at first, and watched them closely afterward. They ended up baking for about 23 mins.

They turned out a bit like a souffle. Immediately out of the oven, they were puffy...

... but flattened pretty quickly.
At this point I started getting a bit tired and contemplated stopping here. But I'd come so far! I couldn't quit now! So I prevailed. I threw some chunks of peaches on half of the tarts.

Then I pondered the brulee situation. I don't have a torch and didn't feel up to the broiler method. But wait! I remembered seeing a cheater's creme brulee recipe in good old BHG, which called for cooking some sugar into caramel, and drizzling the caramel. So I did that. Check out the cool spun sugar thingies I (inadvertently) made.
And done! I've never been very proficient at drizzling but a couple of them turned out OK.
The verdict: Custard slightly overcooked, caramel slightly burnt, pastry pretty good, and egg tart craving well satisfied.


  1. I love the drizzled caramel. That's AWESOME.

    Great interpretation of the recipe!