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
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.