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Dear all,
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Egg Tarts!!!!

  In the spirit of keeping this blog regularly updated... I am writing my second post in one hour. Yeah.

  But let's get to the point. I have finally managed to make egg tarts! Yes! Egg tarts! I absolutely love egg tarts, and I can never get enough of them. In fact, I love all tarts, but egg tarts are the easiest ones that you can find at bakeries (plus they're a lot cheaper compared to fruit tarts and blueberry cheese tarts). Just look at these... heavenly...
Love these! Source

I am going to die just by LOOKING at these! Source

When am I going to try at hand at these? Source

  Let's see. My first attempt was about first years ago. I was spending a lot of time at home ( I had a six-month plus holiday, waiting for my SPM results), and I had a lot of time, so I spent it baking. Well, actually that's not quite true. I probably spent 0.2% of my time baking. Anyway, one day Mum brought home this egg tart recipe, so I decided to try and make some.

  And yes, they did NOT turn out that well. As far as I remember, the pastry was not that well-cooked, and neither was the filling, but they were still edible. To top it off, as soon as I'd popped the tarts into the oven, my mum had guests. Great. It was one of her regular customers, and she'd brought along some of her family. Her father took to chatting with me; I remember he was a really nice, grandfatherly sort of person. So of course he had to smell my tarts baking. He said his teeth were not doing too well, but he didn't think he could go home without biting into one of my egg tarts.

  I gulped. I looked at Mum pleadingly and desperately. My first ever egg tarts, and they weren't even cooked yet! But of course, you must always give the best treatment to your guests, as is the Sunnah, so if they want undercooked, first-attempt egg tarts, what should we do but serve them what they want? I dragged myself to the kitchen and got the tarts out. I don't think they were that bad, but they were certainly not that great looking either.

  So these aunts and the grandfatherly pakcik were either telling the truth or just trying to be nice- they 'oohh'ed and 'ahhh'ed at my tarts and ate them, saying how clever I was and all. Anyway, I gave up trying to make egg tarts after that. I did NOT want to be caught in such a situation again.

  This time however, when I decided to try my hand at it again, I thought I'd look up a good recipe in the internet. I've been quite interested in these cooking blogs that a lot of people have up on the Internet, and since the pictures that they post of their cooking are genuine and look really good, I thought I could probably rely on the recipes as well.

  I typed 'egg tart recipes' on Google and got a number of results, but I chose this one from Aunty Yoochana. I've visited her blog several times and she's quite popular, so I thought her recipes are probably good. Her reviews were good too, so why not? Here's what her tarts look like:
Aunt Yoochana's egg tarts. Source

  My first attempt (last night) resulted in this:
My first attempt... they don't look that good, but they were good!
  The reason they don't look that good was because I my pate sucree (that's what the pastry is called) did not turn out that well. It was too crumbly and sticky, and I could not figure out how I was supposed to put them into the tart pan. The recipe said I should "press dough into small tart moulds", so I did that, but it was rather tricky and I was feeling all sticky and hot. However, when they came out of the oven I felt so glad that they at least looked cooked, and without waiting for them to cool down I immediately dug one out and tasted it.

  It was delicious! Haha. I'm definitely not complimenting my own baking skills (which are not that good) but I guess I was just glad that they tasted okay despite their poor appearance. I brought some along for a testing session with my parents, and my Dad had three! One after another. Haha. I managed to make 20 tarts out of it, and by the time we all went to sleep only 6 were left. They disappeared quickly the next morning too.

  I guess getting at least something right in baking this time went to my head and I decided to make some more. Besides, Mum and Dad were asking for it, and how could I say no? This time, however, I resolved to make nicer looking ones. The original recipe was okay, and most people left really good comments about it, so I figured there was probably something wrong our weighing tool or something. 

  I decided to make several changes to the recipe. So, this is my variation of the original recipe. Mum said I should make more, so I increased the amount of flour and butter. Remember, I am an amateur in the egg-tart-making world, and I simply dunk in the amount that I thought was suitable, so it might not be the best version. But it worked for me, and you can see the results from my photos. And be prepared for my long ramblings and explanations in the recipe. You can always skip to the original recipe to make it quick (but please don't, haha).

Eggs Tarts

What You'll Need:
(a) Pate Sucree
140 gm. butter
70 gm. icing sugar
1/2 egg white
1 egg yolk 
230-250 gm plain flour
1/2 tsp. vanilla essence

(b) Filling
280 gm. fresh milk
160 gm. sugar
3 eggs (large ones)
1/2 tsp. vanilla essence

How to Do It:

(a) Filling First!

1. Heat milk in pan on stove.
-I was puzzled at first because the recipe said to measure the milk by gm. But our cup had gm. on it, so it was okay. Is 280 gm. equal to 280 ml.? I have no idea.

2.Add in sugar. Turn off heat as soon as sugar has dissolved.
-I actually reduced the amount of sugar because the first time I made them, the filling turned out to be too sweet for my liking (but my Dad loved it, of course; he loves sweet things). I used 150 gm. instead of the required 160 gm. If you like, you could taste the filling before pouring them into the shells to see if it suits your tastebuds enough.

3. Whisk the eggs and pour into the milk-and sugar mixture. Whisk away.
-There's a part in the original recipe which I don't understand. It says to "whisk eggs and pour into the milk mixture" and to "not whisk till frothy". Does that mean to pour the eggs into the milk-and-sugar and wait to see bubbles before whisking, or to whisk but to stop before the mixture turns frothy? I have no idea. Just put your heart into it and trust yourself, I say!

4. Add in the vanilla essence.
-Yup. I just dunk in the vanilla without measuring again.

5. And voila! It's done.

p.s. To be honest, there was some left over filling from the first tarts. In addition Mum told me to finish some evaporated milk that was in the fridge. 
So what  I did was to reduce the amount of fresh milk I used, add in the evaporated milk, and when the filling was ready, I dunk in the leftover filling from my first attempt. 
The result? Delicious! 
I think evaporated milk works just as well on its own. Mixing it with the fresh milk gave the filling a thicker texture (or at least that's what I notice). 
So the actual recipe for my second egg tart filling was:
-100gm. evaporated milk
-150gm. gm. fresh milk
-150 gm. sugar
-3 eggs
-an estimated guess of 1/2 tsp. vanilla essence
-the leftover filling (I don't remember the amount, but on its own, it would probably have been enough for about 4 to 5 tarts)

(b) Pate Sucree

1.  Beat butter and icing sugar until well mixed.

2. Beat in the yolk and egg white.
 -To be honest, I probably put two-thirds of the egg white in instead of one-half. I don't know why you have to use only half of the egg white, but I suppose it's so that the mixture doesn't become too sticky.

3. Add in vanilla essence
-Another truth. I didn't measure. I just tipped the bottle and made a guess at how much 1/2 teaspoonful is.

4. Add in the flour.
-So far I had used the electric mixer to mix the ingredients, but I beat the flour in with a plastic scraper because the mixture doesn't mix so well in the mixer.
-The original recipe called for 200 gm. of butter, but the mixture was too sticky. So what I did was to add the amount of flour to about 240 gm. If it was still sticky, I just added more flour. I don't know if this is right, but my tarts turned out better the second time than the first time (during which I added just a little flour)

5. Mix the ingredients well until you can form a ball with the dough without too much sticking to your fingers.

6. Take a small ball of dough and press it into your tart mould.
-This is a bit tricky (well it was for me, anyway), but start by pressing the dough from the centre of the mould and work your way up to the sides. Makes sure the bottom is not too thick and the sides not too thin.

7. Bake the pate sucree in the oven for approximately 5 to 10 minutes.
-Make sure you've heated the oven for about 10 minutes beforehand. 
-The temperature, as Aunt Yoochana said in her recipe, will probably vary for different ovens. She suggested 175C . However, the first time I made them, the tart shells got cooked too quickly before the filling was done, so I changed it to 160C. This worked better, but took longer time.

8. Take the pate sucree out from the oven and pour in the filling.
-Make sure the pate sucree has turned a sort of white colour or has at least dried a bit. This is so that they don't become soggy from the filling.
-Make sure you don't overfill the shells. When you put them back in the oven, make sure the filling doesn't spill. Otherwise you'll have a hard time digging the tarts out later (the filling will cause the shells to stick to the pan if they spill).
Half baked tart shell + filling

9. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes.
-I used both the top and bottom fire (or heat or grill or whatever it's called) for the first 5 to 10 minutes, and then changed to the bottom fire for the rest of the cooking time. This is so that the tarts get cooked from underneath and the top part doesn't get cooked too quickly before the bottom part does. 
Our oven... where delicious food is made (including my tarts!)

10. When they're done, take your tarts out and cool them before digging them out.
-Watch your tarts carefully during the end of the cooking time. When the filling has sort of puffed up into a ball, it means they're done. Take the tarts out. The filling will quickly sink back to their original state (and sometimes even lower).
Just look at these tarts!!!

11. Eat the tarts!!!

  And lo and behold, this what they look like. They look a lot better than my first attempt, huh? I admit I went overboard in taking and posting the pictures, but oh well! Remember, they taste a lot lovelier than they look...

Oh, yum!

I love these because there is more filling than bought ones! I guess I put more 'feeling' into it. Get it? Get it?

Lalala... I may open an egg tart store in the future!

  There was still some filling left, so just for fun I filled one of the empty moulds with only the filling -just to experiment and see what happens. It didn't turn out as nicely as the ones poured into the shells, as I don't think they're meant to be baked on their own. They tasted nice anyway. I put the rest of the filling back on the stove and stirred in some custard powder. It didn't turn out that well, so I'm not going to show you how it looks like, but it's still edible.
Egg tart filling on its own

  Anyway, Mum started talking about selling these tarts... you know how Mum is... and Dad wants to take some to work tomorrow. Hehe...
Just for your interest, I Googled 'pate sucree' and came across this definition from here:
pâte sucrée
[paht soo-KRAY]
A French term for a rich, sweetened short pastry used for desserts such as pies, tarts and filled cookies.

  I also found a Martha Stewart recipe for pate sucree! Since she has a reputation for being a very good cook and baker, I think I'll try this one next time. 

  And so with that, I end my entry for this time. You can see how good I am at blabbing. No wonder I'm afraid to write here, it takes me hours because i just HAVE to write everything down, and it's not like anyone is reading. Anyway, I leave you with this very lovely image of delicious, must-have egg tarts.
They'll be gone by the time I wake up tomorrow, huhu. Just look at the glow!
KakYong, I promise to make some for you when you come home next time!


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