Dim Sum Guide: Egg Custard Tarts

 Posted by on April 3, 2012 at 6:24 am  Food & Cooking  No Responses »
Apr 032012
 
Chinese egg custard tarts

Chinese egg custard tarts

Chinese egg custard tarts (dan tat) are a classic desert dim sum dish with a flaky puff pastry crust holding a warm, mildly sweet custard filling. The sweet filling is typically made from eggs, milk, and sugar but you may see variations in custard ingredients.

The best egg custard tarts will still be warm from the oven with a crust so flaky that the layers will sometimes separate as you eat it. The flakier the crust, the better and fresher the egg tart. Look for the custard filling to be firm but not dense. A runny texture is not good. And the custard should be mildly sweet so that the flavors of the eggs and milk are not overpowered.

Egg custard tart with flaky crust"

Egg custard tart with flaky crust

Egg custard tarts come in two sizes, small and large. Both are excellent. The smaller tarts will expose more of the flavors of the flaky crust. With the larger tarts, you’ll get more custard filling in each bite.  As a kid, I recall eating egg custard tarts with a spoon so I could savor each bite.

Egg custard tarts are amazing when they are fresh from the oven. But when they get cold, the pastry crust tends to get dense, losing its flaky texture. They don’t keep well in the refrigerator so eat them when they are fresh!

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Dim Sum Guide: Baked Pineapple Buns

 Posted by on March 29, 2012 at 6:04 am  Food & Cooking  2 Responses »
Mar 292012
 
Baked pineapple buns
Baked pineapple buns

Baked pineapple buns

For good reason, pineapple buns (bo lo bao) are a very popular dessert. These buns get their name from the fact that the crunchy, sweet top crust closely resembles a crisscross pineapple pattern. Beneath the cookie-like top crust, the soft wheat bun holds a sweet, thick custard filling.

Sweet custard filling in a pineapple bun

Sweet custard filling in a pineapple bun

Pineapple buns are a big hit with kids (and almost everyone else I know). I remember how my youngest daughter in her preschool days would first lick and nibble the cookie crust from the very top of the bun. Once she was temporarily satiated with the cookie crust layer, she would proceed to “drill down” directly to the sweet creamy custard filling, lapping it up as she went along. The sides of the bun, mostly bread, would be the last to be devoured.

Pineapple buns are often found in Chinese bakeries as well as dim sum restaurants.  Some bakeries offer as good, if not better, buns than restaurants.

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