Portuguese Egg Tarts
These are really easy to make.
No blender or mixer required. No long hours of labour in the kitchen. Just a simple hand whisk.
The tarts turned out deliciously soft and silky and the pastry was perfectly flakey.
Pay attention to the notes at the end of the recipe for great results!
Makes 10 small tarts or 6 jumbo tarts.
250g of frozen puff pastry (for making desserts, not the kind for savoury tarts)
6 extra large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1/2 cup of whole fresh milk
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Use a oven thermometer if you are unsure if your oven is efficient. If using a fan-forced oven, reduce temperature to 180°C.
Thaw the pack of frozen pastry.
Separate the egg yolks from whites and place the yolks in a large bowl.
Add 1/4 cup caster sugar.
Using a handheld whisk, whisk well to combine.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Use the good stuff as flavours are very delicate in this recipe.
Whisk well to combine.
Add 1/2 cup of heavy cream. It’s the thick stuff.
Add 1/2 cup of fresh whole milk. Whisk well to combine.
The mixture should be rather frothy by now. Strain the mixture through a sieve to remove the bubbles and rough egg or cream bits.
The mixture should look deliciously silky now. Set aside.
Grease a muffin pan with melted butter. I made jumbo sized tarts, so I used a 6 muffin pan.
The pastry should be thawed by now. The pastry usually come in sheets. Roll them up in a tight roll.
Divide and cut into 6 pieces for jumbo size tarts, or 10 pieces for regular tarts.
Place each piece of pastry in muffin pan, ensuring that the folded layers are sitting stacked. Using your fingers, press the pastry downwards into the pan without breaking the layers. These layers give us those hundreds of layers of flakey pastry later, so we don’t want to break them.
Wet your fingers with some melted butter. Using your thumbs, press the pastry to fit the muffin cups. I like to make them about 2-3mm thick.
Here’s what they look like when they are ready to be filled with the egg mixture.
Fill each pastry cup with the egg mixture till it’s almost filled, but not fully.
The tarts are now ready to be baked.
Place the tarts in the oven for 20-25 mins for regular tarts, and 25-30mins for jumbo tarts. Watch the tarts.
The tarts should rise and form a very dark brown skin on the surface. That’s expected. Leave them alone. Try not to open the oven door and do not attempt to cover the tarts with aluminium foil. That would ruin the appearance of the tarts later.
As you pull the tray of the oven, jiggle it a little. If the centre of the tarts look set, then they are done. If they look like they are still liquidy, leave it in the oven for a while longer.
They are traditionally almost black on top when they are done. I’ve undercooked them a little for the sake of photography.
When the tarts are done, leave them to cool for 15 mins in the pan. The tops of the tarts will sink and the brown skin will start to crack.
Gently transfer the tarts with a offset spatula on to a cookie rack to finish off the cooling process.
Start digging into one while they are fresh and warm!
IMPORTANT NOTES -
(1) I used free range organic eggs and the tarts didn’t taste as eggy as commercial ones. If you like the strong eggy taste, try using barn (non-caged) eggs instead. I also used eggs that were categorised as “Extra Large”. They are approximately 70-75g in weight. If you use smaller eggs, just add an additional one.
(2) I used thick heavy cream. You can find it in stores in the butter/sour cream section and it’s usually labelled as double cream, thickened cream or heavy cream.
(3) Use only whole fresh milk.
(4) Use good quality frozen pastry. The kind that taste lusciously buttery are the best.
(5) Make sure your oven is efficient. It is important to have a oven that’s cooking at 200°C so that the pastry can crisp up nicely while the egg custard is cooking. The oven cannot be too hot else the top of the tarts would be burnt or too brown. Use the lowest shelf to bake in your oven. If the tops of the tarts threaten to look overly dark and the tarts don’t look done yet, change the oven settings to bottom heat only and continue to bake as per indicated time.
(6) Try NOT to open the oven to check until the tarts are done. Constant opening and closing of the oven door would cause the tarts to rise and sink, resulting in cracks on the top skin, like mine in the photos here. I couldn’t resist. I hope you can! Good luck!
(7) To warm up cold tarts, preheat the oven to 160°C and heat the tarts for 10 to 15 mins.
The printable version of this recipe is here -
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