One of the positive legacies of Portuguese colonial rule is their Portuguese egg tarts. My first encounter with the Portuguese egg tarts was when we were in Macau as part of our honeymoon journey. In fact, I made it a point to my husband that we gotta try them out for sure. We did and were not disappointed for sure. Macau was under the colonial rule of the Portuguese and hence why we searched for the egg tarts in Macau. Of course nowadays you don’t have to go to Portugal or their colonial rule countries to taste the egg tarts. You can find them quite easily now at the bakeries, even here in North America.
This is a home baker’s version of Portuguese egg tarts and trust me, I think I’ve found THE recipe. I love this. I actually made the puff pastry from scratch too. You don’t have too. I just really wanted to do it just because I wanted to learn. This Portuguese egg tarts are so smooth and delicious, sweet but not cloying. The filling is made of egg yolks along with flour, sugar and some milk to yield egg custards.
The Portuguese egg tarts have black splotches on top and don’t worry, you aren’t burning anything. In fact, this is the “signature look” of the Portuguese egg tarts.
- ½ recipe (3/4 lb) rough puff, or ¾ lb store-bought all-butter puff pastry
- Scant 1 cup sugar
- Scant ½ cup all-purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- 1¾ cups whole or reduced-fat milk
- 2 drops pure vanilla extract
- 6 large or extra-large egg yolks, preferably free-range if you can find some
- Set out one 12-cup or two 6-cup muffin tins. Cut the pastry into 3 equal pieces. Work with 1 piece at a time, keeping the remaining pastry loosely covered with plastic in the refrigerator
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a very thin square about 10 inches across. Using a plate, or a cup or even a lid as a guide, with a very sharp knife, cut out for 5-inch circles. Place each circle over a muffin cup and then gently press down to slide it into place. Repeat with the remaining dough. Wrap the muffin tins in plastic and put in the freezer while you prepare the filling
- Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and place a baking stone or unglazed quarry tiles, if you have them, on the rack. Otherwise, baking sheet is fine. Preheat the oven to 475 F
- Mix together the sugar, flour, and salt in a bowl, set aside
- Heat the milk and vanilla almost to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Sift the flour mixture over the milk and use a wooden spoon to stir it in. Cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Stirring constantly to prevent sticking, until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon. Remove from the heat and set aside
- Place the egg yolks in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Stir in a little (about ½ cup) of the hot milk mixture, then gradually add the egg mixture to the saucepan, whisking to keep it smooth. This is call tempering to prevent the egg from curdling when you mix it with the hot milk mixture. Transfer to a jug or large measuring cup with a spout for easier pouring later
- Remove the pastry shells from the freezer. Pour the filling into the shells, filing them nearly to the top, and immediately place on the baking stones or tiles (or on a baking sheet) on the oven rack. Bake for 7 minutes. Turn the oven to broil and cook for another 2 -4 minutes, until the filling is well touched with dark brown patches. Wearing oven mitts, tip the tartlets out onto a rack and let cool