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Dan Tart Cook-off I

Chinese

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119 replies to this topic

#31 torakris

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 01:21 AM

well mine didn't turn out very well either..... :angry:

firstly I forgot the salt in the pastry, so they were very bland...

then as I was carrying the pan to the oven they jiggled too much and the egg part went over the sides and into the bottom of the cup, so part of it tastes like sweetened fried egg.....

I also left them to bake while I was working on the computer and they browned too much...

I haven't eaten these in about 8 years so I can't really remember what the pastry was like but this was quite flakey. The egg part was ok though it could have used a pinch of salt and a bit more vanilla.

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#32 SuzySushi

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 01:31 AM

then as I was carrying the pan to the oven they jiggled too much and the egg part went over the sides and into the bottom of the cup, so part of it tastes like sweetened fried egg.....
Posted Image

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Note to self: fill pan on top of the stove.

I'll be trying these later in the week, from the same recipe #2 that Dejah used. Maybe the cook-off will find that the perfect dan tart is an amalgam of several different recipes!
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#33 Tepee

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 01:34 AM

Thanks so much, Sue-On and Kristin, for sharing your notes. Will be useful when I tackle these babies tonite.....

Sue-On, I'm sure you've made a lot of people happy with those tarts.

Kristin, I bet your tarts would have been perfect if it didn't overcook.

Should I or shouldn't I add the yellow coloring? I know they do it commercially to improve on the custard color.
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#34 helenjp

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 04:56 AM

I haven't made these in a looong time, and when I did, I used a long-out-of-print book written in Japanese by a Chinese chef.

The pastry is a shortcrust, cut out with a fluted cutter. Maybe this is because the book was aimed at Japanese home cooks of 2-3 decades ago, who were still pretty oven-shy in those days and not familiar with pastry-making.

The custard always cooked up to a nice yellow color partly caused by mixing but not beating/aerating egg mixture (but possibly high sugar content helped create glossy, intense color??), but this could depend on how yellow the yolks of your eggs are.

A western book advised cooking tarts at a high temperature (200-220degC) initially to ensure that the bottoms of tart cases are not soggy. I've found that method successful.

Here's the recipe I use, if anybody wants to compare (since it's no longer available in print).

In Japanized Chinese, "Tan Taa"

200g flour
100g shortening (I suspect I used a mixture of butter and lard).
2 tab sugar
40-50ml water
Rub fat into flour/sugar. Add water and mix roughly, cover and rest in fridge 1 hr.

140g sugar
200ml water
2 eggs (approx 120g total)
2 tab condensed milk (unsweetened Snow Brand "Evermilk" is used in Japan, but with all that sugar, does it really matter if it's unsweetened or not?)
Bring sugar and water to a boil and make a syrup, cool. Add condensed milk to mixed (beaten but NOT whipped) egg, and mix gently together WITHOUT allowing to become foamy). Strain and set aside.

Roll pastry out to approx 1/8 inch thickness and cut out rounds. Heat empty tartlet tin/cases in preheated oven, remove and drop pastry rounds into them, fill 3/4 full with egg mixture, and bake at 180degC for 10minutes.

I really doubt if I ever preheated the empty tartlet tins when making these, especially teflon coated ones!

#35 Dejah

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 06:48 AM

Definitely DO NOT USE PUFF PASTRY for dan tart.


Can you tell us what the end result was? I'm guessing that a puff pastry-like dough must be used in order to get a flaky layered result but that the pastry must be blind baked before the filling is added.

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The frozen puffed pastry looked right around the edges, but when you bite into it, it is chewy like a danish. :unsure:

With the first dozen, the instructions said to bake at 350F until the edges (brushed with egg yolk) are golden. Then cover the tarts up with a cookie sheet , turn off the oven and cook until the custard set.

The last 2 dozens were baked at 300F for 45 minutes. The pastry was flaky in that it was like shortbread cookies...but not the layered look of the classic dan tart.

Kris's pastry looks good. IF I ever make them again, I will roll the pastry out thicker and be brave and add more filling. Helen's recipe looks interesting.

Did I really say

I won't be making these again anytime soon,

Well, Helen DID give a recipe. :laugh:
Not sure about the food colouring. A dab of orange colour might be good. Yellow makes it too lemony. I liked the natural colour of the second recipe with the milk and cream.
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#36 Rhea_S

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 07:40 AM

I didn't get around to making these this weekend, but I was going to make them tonight. Thanks Dejah for the reviews. I had pretty much decided against the Wei-Chuan recipe and was leaning towards the Rhoda Yee one. Maybe I'll google for yet another recipe. Siu Mai will be made tonight as well.

#37 Tepee

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 07:50 AM

Here's mine....Ellen Leong Blonder recipe. Used lard, AP flour, sugar for the pastry. Filling was milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract. Egad! The pastry was so fragile, you can see from the pix how some of the sides 'dropped' off. The problem was the recipe asked that the moulds be ungreased. Then, after cooling, you have to loosen the tarts off the moulds with a knife. Duh. If the pastry was shortcrust, it would have been fine. Then, with 1 cup of flour, you were expected to cut out twelve 3-1/4-inch rounds. Double duh. I could only get 11 rounds and I was using a 2.5 inch cutter. And, the pastry was less than 2 mm in thickness. However, taste is great. Light, very light.

I may try Portugese Egg Tarts later in the week.

Before baking
Posted Image

Posted Image
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#38 Dejah

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 08:00 AM

The pastry and custard look lovely, Tepee!

Can you send them...errr I mean the recipe? I just MIGHT try again once the students are back in class next week. Then I will have some new people to eat up my experiments. :laugh:
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#39 Tepee

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 08:08 AM

Sue-On, I'd send you some, but these pretties (er...not really) won't even make it into a box...reiterate...very fragile. If you plan to take these out of the house, I suggest you put them in cupcake paper liners.

The recipe is super simple.

Pastry (this is supposedly for 1 batch. I suggest you make 1.5 times)

1 cup unsifted AP flour
1 tblsp sugar
1/4 C lard
1/4 C ice water (I didn't even have to use this)

Filling

2 eggs
1/2 C milk
1/2 C sugar (I used 1/3 C)
1 tsp vanilla extract

I added a little squirt of yellow gel food coloring. Bake at a very slow oven 150C for 40 minutes. That way the filling won't boil over and get done before the pastry.

You have lucky, lucky students.

Edited by Tepee, 18 April 2005 - 08:38 AM.

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#40 Dejah

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 08:45 AM

Thanks Tepee, for your recipe. :biggrin:
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#41 torakris

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Posted 18 April 2005 - 04:24 PM

tepee, those are gorgeous!

I might try this again. :biggrin:

I like the idea of some sugar in the pastry part, mine was very bland with just flour, lard and milk.
Your's also calls for more sugar than mine (2 tbs to 2 cups milk), I think I will try to cover them as well as they started to brown pretty early on....

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#42 Gul_Dekar

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 01:05 AM

I tried making them yesterday using the recipe linked from the original cook off thread. This one. They turned out ok-looking but I think maybe there could be a mistake in the recipe because it only called for two TEASPOONS of sugar. :wacko: Guess should've noticed that earlier because the filling was totally bland & tasteless! They also had the consistency of normal custard and not the 'firm and springy' kind I like for dan tarts. Maybe I will try the recipe that Tepee provided sometime later (they look sweet!), since I sorta OD-ed on eggs and cream this week (on this and other stuff). Either that or I'll just walk down the street and buy a few from the Chinese pastry shop which is practically next door to where I live! They have good egg tarts too... :raz:

#43 sheetz

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 07:16 PM

I just wanted to confirm Dejah's results, and say that you should NOT use puff pastry for this! I made up a batch of homemade puff pastry just to see what would happen and tried blind baking it in the muffin tins. The results were horrible. If you've ever bought those frozen puff pastry shells it was like that, where the inside gets all chewy while the outside is crisp. Fortunately since they were blind baked the filling didn't go to waste and is now sitting in the fridge until I make up another batch of tart dough. Next time I'm going to go with the traditional 2 layer dough, maybe with a little extra fat added.

Edited by sheetz, 19 April 2005 - 07:17 PM.


#44 sheetz

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Posted 20 April 2005 - 02:57 PM

This is starting to get frustrating.

I'm beginning to think custard tart recipes are a closely guarded secret among the dim sum chefs. Unlike many dim sum items, no two restaurants seem to use the same recipe, and none of the recipes I've seen in cookbooks or online result in anything remotely similar to the tarts I've eaten in restaurants.

#45 jschyun

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Posted 20 April 2005 - 03:51 PM

Yes I came to this same conclusion a while back when I was really trying. No recipe I have ever seen (now I'm handicapped because my Chinese character knowledge is very low) has remotely resembled a recipe that could reasonably be expected to make the restaurant daan tat.

On the other hand, as long as you don't care for a perfectly flaky crust, it's doable. However, the perfectly flaky crust is what makes it. *sigh*

Edited by jschyun, 20 April 2005 - 03:52 PM.

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#46 torakris

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Posted 20 April 2005 - 04:47 PM

Because I did the very stupid thing of fracturing my foot about 36 hours ago, I am not going to be making anything for a while... :hmmm:

I will keep watching this thread though to see if the perfect recipe appears, tepee's is looking very good though, and I will give it another try in July once the cast comes off....

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#47 Dejah

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Posted 20 April 2005 - 06:26 PM

Because I did the very stupid thing of fracturing my foot about 36 hours ago, I am not going to be making anything for a while... :hmmm:

I will keep watching this thread though to see if the perfect recipe appears, tepee's is looking very good though, and I will give it another try in July once the cast comes off....

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Very sorry to hear about your foot, Kris. :sad: As with the "other cook-off", it is never too late to enter your results for dan tart.
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#48 SuzySushi

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 12:14 AM

Because I did the very stupid thing of fracturing my foot about 36 hours ago, I am not going to be making anything for a while... :hmmm:

I will keep watching this thread though to see if the perfect recipe appears, tepee's is looking very good though, and I will give it another try in July once the cast comes off....

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So sorry to hear about your foot, Kris. Hope it heals soon!!! (And tip... if it gets itchy under the cast, use a knitting needle... or a long cooking chopstick... to scratch it!)
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#49 NancyH

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 06:56 AM

Because I did the very stupid thing of fracturing my foot about 36 hours ago, I am not going to be making anything for a while... :hmmm:

I will keep watching this thread though to see if the perfect recipe appears, tepee's is looking very good though, and I will give it another try in July once the cast comes off....

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I am sorry to read this and hope all gets better soon - I am still coping with my husband's accident of April 3 - he stepped off of the staircase three steps early and ruptured the patella tendons in both knees! So - someone in your hometown (Cleveland) is feeling your pain, sort of. Heal soon!
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#50 Yuki

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 07:05 AM

I will start the dan tart this weekend but I have some questions first.

Where would I find lard in the supermarket? In the refrigerator or the baking section? If I can not find lard, what can I use?

I've only used butter and oil for baking before, but I know the crust that are made with lard or shortening taste so much better.....

#51 Rhea_S

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 07:22 AM

Where would I find lard in the supermarket? In the refrigerator or the baking section? If I can not find lard, what can I use?
I've only used butter and oil for baking before, but I know the crust that are made with lard or shortening taste so much better.....

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At my local supermarkets, the lard is usually by the sausages/hotdogs or close to the meat section. Really good, fresh lard does make great tasting crusts, but the supermarket brands aren't quite the same. Butter definitely makes better tasting crusts than shortening (which doesn't have flavor unless you buy the fake butter-flavored kind), but shortening and lard tend to produce flakier crusts. Some try to compromise by using a mixture of shortening and butter.

#52 Dejah

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 07:32 AM

I will start the dan tart this weekend but I have some questions first.

Where would I find lard in the supermarket? In the refrigerator or the baking section? If I can not find lard, what can I use?

I've only used butter and oil for baking before, but I know the crust that are made with lard or shortening taste so much better.....

View Post


I used Tenderflake, Yuki. Make sure it says lard and not shortening...such as Crisco. You should be able to find it in the baking aisle. They come in 1 lb. blocks or 1.36kg tubs.

Lard makes everything flaky and light. I used to use Tenderflake lard in one deepfryer for battered items. The other 2 fryers had veg. shortening. I have compared the results and the lard definitely produces flakier "crusts".
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#53 Rhea_S

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 07:45 AM

I used Tenderflake


I forgot about Tenderflake. We don't get that here in the US, but my mom usually used Tenderflake in her pie crusts. I didn't even realize until now that it's lard (been a long time).

#54 Yuki

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 07:51 AM

Butter definitely makes better tasting crusts than shortening (which doesn't have flavor unless you buy the fake butter-flavored kind), but shortening and lard tend to produce flakier crusts. Some try to compromise by using a mixture of shortening and butter.

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Thanks for clearing up my questions between lard, butter and shortening. I saw some recipes that use both the "water" skin and the "oil skin", and the "oil" skin contains butter and lard. Although those recipes sounded really good but they seem to be more difficult to make. I will buy lots of lard and butter this weekend to do some experiment even though I am quite sure that my result would not be good. :wink:

I used Tenderflake, Yuki. Make sure it says lard and not shortening...such as Crisco. You should be able to find it in the baking aisle. They come in 1 lb. blocks or 1.36kg tubs.


Thanks, I've seen Tenderflake before and now I know where to get some extra cholesterol. :wink: I've no one to share my egg tart with and my sister just baked a strawberry tart so our intake of sugar and fat might be quite high this week.

#55 Dejah

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 08:25 AM

Yuki:
Thanks, I've seen Tenderflake before and now I know where to get some extra cholesterol. wink.gif I've no one to share my egg tart with and my sister just baked a strawberry tart so our intake of sugar and fat might be quite high this week.


Do as I did, drive down your neighborhood street and share with any neighbors you see standing outside! :laugh: :laugh:
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#56 Tepee

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 08:39 AM

Everybody!!!! Here comes the Tart (lady)!!!!!!!!

I can just picture that. :laugh: :rolleyes:
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#57 Yuki

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Posted 23 April 2005 - 06:16 PM

I just baked the egg tart today and have to report that they are a failure. :sad: The egg ended up extremely rough with air bubble inside :blink: and the crust tasted raw. I don't think I want to try making them again for a while... I will just go to the bakery to grab some fresh egg tart next time. :smile:

#58 Tepee

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Posted 24 April 2005 - 12:18 AM

Awwww...I'm sorry to hear that, Yuki. Which recipe did you use? You have to bake in low heat, 150C for at least 40 minutes, so that the filling doesn't explode. I don't mind trying it again, since it actually takes very little time to come up with one batch. This time I'll do 50/50 lard/butter.
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#59 Dejah

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Posted 24 April 2005 - 08:32 AM

Well, it seems what jschyun and sheetz have said is true - the pastry recipe is a well kept secret! I know my second pastry, single layer method was flaky, as in shortcrust...but it's the elusive layers! I might try the double layer method again in a little while. Do I have the determination of the little yellow train who could? :laugh:

Think I'll put a call out to Irwin (wesza) and CharSuiBao and see if they have any contacts!
Hope your foot is coming along, Kris.
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#60 sheetz

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Posted 24 April 2005 - 03:04 PM

I'm making Dan Tart my own holy grail of recipes, right above those incredibly lacy deep fried taro puffs. When you look at it, it shouldn't be that tough, but it looks like I'm going to have to experiment a lot and develop my own recipe.





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