Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Jan 28: CNY Something Sweet Experiment

A coworker asked about Chinese dim sum custard tartlets. In phonetic Cantonese, "On Tot" which is "egg tart". His problems was the custard baked up bubbly, instead of smooth and silky.

Researching my cookbooks, I came across a recipe that used eggs and water. What no milk or cream? Now, I have to be open-minded and give it a try. However, I wanted go to the other end of the spectrum and use all cream.

I wanted to focus on the custard so I used a prepared pie crust for the shell.

Chinese Egg Tartlets
Water Based Filling

1/2C + 2T Hot Water
1/4C Sugar
2 Eggs, beaten
1/2 t Vanilla
1/2 t Vinegar... Vinegar!

Cream Based Filling
1/2C + 2T Cream
1/4C Sugar
2 Eggs, beaten
1/2 t Vanilla

1. Dissolve sugar in the liquid. Add the vanilla and vinegar. When cool, add the beaten egg and whisk lightly. Set aside.

Before the egg was added, water mixture on the left and the cream mixture on the right.

Since I used a premade pie crust, I had to cut out round for the muffin pan.
Using a 4 inch diameter cutter... was a little to large with only a yield of 4 round per crust.

Being frugal, I switched to a 3" diameter can... many more rounds per crust. I'm happy. :)

However, I had to roll out to 4" Diameter to match the muffin paper.

The shells ready for filling....

Left side - six filled with the water based egg mixture and the right six filled with the cream based egg mixture.

Bake 375F for 20 minutes.

Much my surprise... the water based custard (on the left) actually has a smoother appearance.

Also, silkier interior.

Not what I expected... The water based custard looked very similar to the tartlets found in dim sum restaurants. Both were much too sweet and too much vanilla. The cream based custard was rich, but also had a stronger eggy flavor.

Besides the cream... the only difference between the two fillings was vinegar. Hmmm... I wonder if that had anything to do with the appearance? Now, I'm gonna have to think about it some more... and try again in the future.

A few things I would change is use less sugar (cut in half the amount used) and same goes for the vanilla. I would also add just a touch of salt. A little salt always seems to help dessert dishes.

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