Chinese egg custard tarts or dan ta is one of my favorite Hong Kong style desserts. It is a buttery and flakey tart, and it has a silky and smooth custard center. It is completely irresistible.
Growing up in China, Chinese egg tart is one of my favorite comfort desserts. But of course, it was something my mother didn't allow me to indulge often. But now that I am older and can bake it myself from scratch, I like to tweak the recipe to be healthier so I can feel better about enjoying them.
What Are Hong Kong Style Egg Tarts?
If you never had Hong Kong egg tarts before, they are small round tarts made with buttery and flakey puff pastry on the bottom and filled with a silky and smooth egg custard that is slightly sweet.
You can typically find Hong Kong egg tarts at Chinese bakeries or dim sum restaurants. If you do go to a dim sum place, you must get Chinese egg tarts as your dessert. They taste the best when it is fresh out of the oven or warmed up.
What is the difference between Hong Kong style egg tarts vs. Portuguese egg tarts?
While visually both egg tarts look very similar, Portuguese egg tart is partially caramelized and more puffed up. Traditional Hong Kong style egg tarts are evenly yellow in color and smooth. The main difference between the two styles is Portuguese egg tart crust has more flakey layers like a croissant, while Hong Kong tarts are either dense like a pie crust or flaky. The filling consistency of both custard tartare very similar, but Hong Kong style tart is less sweet. Hong Kong style tart is made with evaporated milk and whole eggs, while Portuguese egg tarts use only egg yolks and heavy cream.
Healthier Hong Kong Egg Tarts
Add Purple Sweet Potato
Purple sweet potato is rich in antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is especially high in potassium, and a 3.5 ounce of cooked purple sweet potato has more potassium than a banana.
Plus, purple sweet potato adds a nuttier and earthier flavor and mild sweetness to your tart recipe while adding a pop of color! And because purple sweet potato will add some sweetness to the tart, you can omit added sugar or use less sugar to your tart recipe.
Swap butter with ghee butter
If you are not familiar with ghee butter, it is clarified butter with water and milk solids removed. Typically ghee butter is a better option for people who are sensitive to lactose.
While the nutritional profile between the two is very similar, I like using ghee butter in this recipe because of its high smoking point. The butter smoking point is 300F, and the ghee butter smoking point is 480F. Because in this recipe, we are baking the tarts at 400F, ghee butter is a better choice.
If you are not sure what the smoking point means, the smoking point is the temperature at which the oil stops shimmering and starts smoking or burning.
When shopping for ghee butter, go for grass-fed, organic options!
Swap your white sugar with maple sugar
Maple sugar is naturally sweeter than white sugar. However, maple sugar is a low glycemic index, which helps prevent blood sugar spikes, but it can still raise your blood sugar.
While proving sweetness, maple sugar can add caramel and nutty flavor to your Chinese egg tarts.
Purple Sweet Potato Egg Tart Recipe
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Serving Size: 12
1 small purple Sweet Potato peeled and diced (1/2 Cup)
2 tbsp Maple sugar
3/4 cup Evaporated Milk or Evaporated coconut milk
1/4 cup Hot Water
2 extra-large eggs beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
A dash of Himalayan salt
Puff Pastry Dough:
1. In a large mixing bowl, add the sifted flour, sugar, and salt. Then add ghee butter and bring the mixture together with hand but do not knead the dough too much. You can use a stand mixer if it's available.
2. Whisk the egg and add to your flour mixture. Bring the dough together until smooth. Then cover the bowl with a wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and let the dough firm. While you wait for the dough to firm up, make the filling.
1. Steam a small purple sweet potato until soft, and then mash it. I find it to be easier to peel it, cube it and then steam or bake it. It should take about 10 minutes to cook until tender.
2. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and salt with hot water and let it dissolve and cool down.
3. In another medium mixing bowl, beat the egg and then add the cooled sugar and salt mixture, mashed purple sweet potato, and the evaporated milk. Stir and mix well.
4. Then let it chill in the refrigerator.
1. Preheat the oven to 400F
2. Lightly coated your tart pans with oil.
3. Take out the dough and roll it into a log. Then divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Take one portion of the dough, roll it out using a rolling pin and place it in a tart shell pan. Use your finger and press the puff pastry shell dough into the tart shell pan. When you press the dough, you want to make sure you have a uniform dough thickness. Repeat for the rest of the dough and puff pastry shells.
4. Once you place all the dough in 12 pans, use a fork and poke a few holes at the bottom of your tart shells.
5. Pour the custard filling into the tart shells. Make sure you pour about 80% full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick can stand in the tart.
6. Let it cook down, sprinkle some shredded coconut and then take the egg tarts out of the mold. Serve warm.
Purple Sweet Potato Egg Tarts Recipe Notes
- Ghee Butter- If you don't have ghee butter on hand, you can use room temperature unsalted butter and cut it into cubes.
- Go bilayer: If you are not sure about the purple sweet potato portion, you can add the mashed purple sweet potato into the tart and then add the filling to create a bi-layer tart.
- Ube: If you are an ube lover, you can substitute purple sweet potato with ube puree and extract, or purple yam!
- If you don't have tart molds, you can use a muffin tin.
- Pastry dough: If you don't have time to make the dough yourself, you can purchase store-bought pastry dough.
Yield: 12 Serving size: 1 Tart
Amount per serving: Calories: 145 calories. Total Fat: 6.3g, Saturated Fat 3.4g. Cholesterol: 59mg. Sodium: 47mg. Total Carbohydrate: 17.2g. Dietary fiber: 0.6g. Total Sugar: 3.7g. Protein: 4.3g.
**The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.**
How To Store Egg Tarts?
If you got leftover custard tart, you could store it covered at room temperature for two days. You can also refrigerate it and then bring it back to room temperature when ready to eat it. Recommend heating it in the oven before enjoying it because it tastes the best when it is warm.