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Dejah

Dan Tart Cook-off I

120 posts in this topic

my pastry recipe (ok, Corrine Trang's) is very simple, mix the flour, salt and lard together until loose crumbs form then add a bit of milk and mix until it just holds togther. Then chill, until chilled :blink: and roll to an 1/8 inch thickness and cut into circles...

Her egg part consists of whole eggs, whole milk, sugar and vanilla extract.

I will be making them today. :biggrin:


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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So, I have another recipe done up and 12 are now in the oven. This is a recipe by Rhonda Yee. She uses a recipe with butter and lard...single layer. None of this outsy and innsy stuff. The filling called for eggs, milk and half'n'half. I thought the colour was still too pale, so for 3 of the tarts, I added the tiniest dab of yellow cake decorating colour.

We'll see what happens. I took pictures of the process from the first batch, and the rexults before I threw them into the garbage. The seond batch, I didn't take pictures of the process but I will post the results.

"sigh"    :unsure:

So? How did the second batch turn out? I was planning to use the Rhoda Yee recipe.


SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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I understand tarts are western bakery concepts.  But are Egg Tarts a unique Hong Kongers' creation?  Anybody knows?

I seem to remember reading/hearing somewhere that the Chinese egg tarts were developed under British rule in Hong Kong as an offshoot of English custard tarts. And suddenly, what I knew as "don tot" made sense as "tart"! They're also popular in Singapore & Malaysia, so it's possible they started as a Western concept there...


SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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Well, it's been one long day with these da** tarts. Needless to say, I won't be making these again anytime soon, unless someone gives me a "no-fail flaky-layers, just like the dim sum chefs recipe"! :wacko:

Here's hoping the images will load! May just end up as links, but I am too beat to try to figure this image posting thingie!

The first batch, I used a recipe from Wei-Chuan. I bought a whole can of evaporated milk only to use 1 tbsp in the outer dough! The dough worked easily but did not give me the desired results. The filling was very disappointing. I should have realized because it only called for water, 5 eggs and sugar. The photos in the book showed crimping along the tart edges, so I did. Like I said, I followed the directions exactly. This dozen went into the garbage!

Egg Tarts: Double Layer Pastry

http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/11137768...8_1102_7319.jpg

Egg Tarts: First Dozen Pre-Baked

http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/11137768...38_1102_991.jpg

Egg Tarts: First Dozen Baked

http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/11137768..._1102_27221.jpg

The second dozen, I used a recipe by Rhoda Yee. It was a short pastry of 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup lard, 1 egg and 6 tbsp sugar. The filling was more like what I thought egg custard should be...at least similar to English custard. It called for 2 whole extra large eggs, 3 extra large egg yolks, 1 cup whole milk, 1/2 cup half and half, and 1 cup sugar. Look out arteries! :blink:

The end result was more like an English custard tart than the classic Chinese dan tart.

The filling was wonderful, silky. The shell like a piece of short bread. I thought the colour was a bit pale so I added a dab of yellow food colouring in the filling for 3 tarts. Nah...too much like lemon tart in colour.

Egg Tarts: Second Dozen Baked

http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/11137768...8_1102_8663.jpg

Rhoda's recipe was for 24 tarts. I rolled out 7 more out of her pastry recipe, then cut out 5 from frozen puff pastry to see what would happen. Definitely DO NOT USE PUFF PASTRY for dan tart.

Egg Tarts: Third Dozen Baked

http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/11137768..._1102_29182.jpg

I tasted 1/4 section of each dozen. Rhoda's filling was the best, although I might reduce the sugar in the custard by a couple tbsps.

We are not allowing ourselves any sugar or flour at the moment, I took the last 2 dozen tarts down to different neighbors on our street. (Other than the puff pastry ones!) I also left some in my office fridge for our secretary and Chinese students who did not go home for this short break.

Tomorrow...onto something I know more about. ..siu mai!


Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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I understand tarts are western bakery concepts.  But are Egg Tarts a unique Hong Kongers' creation?  Anybody knows?

The story I heard is that they are based on the Portuguese custard tarts and were first introduced to HK via Macao.

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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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.

gallery_6134_119_36353.jpg


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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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.....

gallery_6134_119_36353.jpg

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!


SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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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.


TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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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!

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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.

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.


Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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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.

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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

gallery_12248_1107_10774.jpg

gallery_12248_1107_41719.jpg


TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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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:


Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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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 (log)

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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Thanks Tepee, for your recipe. :biggrin:


Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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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....


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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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:

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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 (log)

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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.

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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 (log)

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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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....


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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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....

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.


Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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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....

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!)


SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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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....

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!


"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" (coined while playing with my food at Lolita).

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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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.....

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      Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southern China, where I live, is sugar central for the country. Over two-thirds of China's output of sugar is grown right here, making it one of the largest sugar production areas on the planet. I have a second home in the countryside and it is surrounded by sugar cane fields.

      Much of this is produced by small time farmers, although huge Chinese and international companies have also moved in.
       
      Also, sugar is used extensively in Chinese cooking, not only as a sweetener, but more as a spice. A little added to a savoury dish can bring out otherwise hidden flavours. It also has medicinal attributes according to traditional Chinese medicine.
       
      Supermarkets have what was to me, on first sight, a huge range of sugars, some almost unrecognisable. Here is a brief introduction to some of them. Most sugar is sold loose, although corner shops and mom 'n pop stores may have pre-packed bags. These are often labelled in English as "candy", the Chinese language not differentiating between "sugar" and "candy" - always a source of confusion. Both are 糖 (táng),

      IMPORTANT NOTE: The Chinese names given here and in the images are the names most used locally. They are all Mandarin Chinese, but it is still possible that other names may be used elsewhere in China. Certainly, non-Mandarin speaking areas will be different.

      By the far the simplest way to get your sugar ration is to buy the unprocessed sugar cane. This is not usually available in supermarkets but is a street vendor speciality. In the countryside, you can buy it at the roadside. There are also people in markets etc with portable juice extractors who will sell you a cup of pure sugar cane juice.


       
      I remember being baffled then amused when, soon after I first arrived in China, someone asked me if I wanted some 甘蔗 (gān zhè). It sounded exactly like 'ganja' or cannabis. No such luck! 甘蔗 (gān zhè) is 'sugar cane'.
       
      The most common sugar in the supermarkets seems to be 冰糖 (bīng táng) which literally means 'ice 'sugar' and is what we tend to call 'rock sugar' or 'crystal sugar'. This highly refined sugar comes in various lump sizes although the price remains the same no matter if the pieces are large or small. Around ¥7/500g. That pictured below features the smaller end of the range.


       
      Related to this is what is known as 冰片糖 (bīng piàn táng) which literally means "ice slice sugar". This is usually slightly less processed (although I have seen a white version, but not recently) and is usually a pale brown to yellow colour. This may be from unprocessed cane sugar extract, but is often white sugar coloured and flavoured with added molasses. It is also sometimes called 黄片糖  (huáng piàn táng) or "yellow slice sugar". ¥6.20/500g.
       


      A less refined, much darker version is known as 红片糖 (hóng piàn táng), literally 'red slice sugar'. (Chinese seems to classify colours differently - what we know as 'black tea' is 'red tea' here. ¥7.20/500g.


       
      Of course, what we probably think of as regular sugar, granulated sugar is also available. Known as 白砂糖 (bái shā táng), literally "white sand sugar', it is the cheapest at  ¥3.88/500g.



      A brown powdered sugar is also common, but again, in Chinese, it isn't brown. It's red and simply known as 红糖 (hóng táng). ¥7.70/500g


       
      Enough sweetness and light for now. More to come tomorrow.
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