Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tai Cheong Bakery Egg Tarts - Not!


Disclaimer: Note that these are NOT Tai Cheong Bakery egg tarts.
Pin It

I don't quite know where to begin. I don't even know why I am writing this post. Maybe it's the need for some answers. Some time ago, I saw an article at CNNGo featuring the famous Tai Cheong Bakery in Hong Kong, and included in that article was the recipe for their hugely popular egg tarts. Yes, you heard right ... the recipe for Tai Cheong's iconic egg tarts.

So, I bookmarked it and last weekend, managed to get down to trying it out. However, when I perused the ingredients and measurements, I started wondering if there was some mistake. Now, I have baked egg tarts a few times before this, and although recipes may differ, the ratios of eggs to sugar to milk don't usually vary that much. But this. This threw me off guard.

Take for example, the recipe for the egg custard. If you look at it (bottom of this post), you will notice that there is a whole lotta sugar - 450g. With that, you make a sugar solution with 450ml water and then add it to 4 eggs and 200ml evaporated milk. Seriously, 450g sugar? For 4 eggs?

Despite my reservations, I went ahead with the instructions.

Then it was time to bake. At that point, I was prepared for a fiasco. In the article, the egg mixture was described as "a thick egg liquid" ... yet, mine was diluted and runny. Not a good sign. So I did the cautious thing and sent 6 sacrificial tarts into the oven. Blimey, the custard in all 6 bubbled and bubbled - yes, like a soup!

In the end, after about 45 painful minutes - when the pastry had browned and the custard still hadn't set - I took out all the tarts and allowed them to cool. And then I took a bite. The crust turned out fine, but the custard - if you could even call it that - was just gooey, saccharine madness. I couldn't even bring myself to take a second bite ... and I'm Little Miss Sweet Tooth, in case you've forgotten. Obviously the test batch ended up in the bin. I do regret not taking some photos of the gory evidence.

Now, what was I to do with all the egg syrup and unbaked shells? Why, switch to my non-existent Plan B, of course!

I poured out a third of the egg syrup into another bowl, added 2 more eggs, added a bit more milk, added a dash of vanilla extract, sieved the mixture, and then prayed.

The new batch went into the oven and finally, I got to see the familiar swell of egg custard being cooked.


Disclaimer: Note that these are NOT Tai Cheong Bakery egg tarts.

This time, the tarts turned out (surprisingly) edible. Frankly, I was just relieved the ingredients didn't go to waste. Thank goodness for experience, however little. At least I could improvise! If I had been a newbie, I would have helplessly thrown everything away.

So, Tai Cheong Egg Tarts? Sure, if I'm were in Hong Kong and BUYING them. But I don't think I would be baking them. *wry smile*

If there is anyone who has successfully made egg tarts using this particular recipe, please let me know. I need some closure ... perhaps the reason for this pointless post. Meh.


Disclaimer: Note that these are NOT Tai Cheong Bakery egg tarts.
Pin It

Tai Cheong Bakery Egg Tarts
(Recipe from CNNGo)*
* Disclaimer: I did not have a good experience baking with this recipe.

Pastry:
- Flour 450g
- Sugar 110g
- Evaporated milk 2 teaspoons
- Margarine 110g
- Butter 110g

Egg Custard Filling:
- Water 450ml
- Evaporated milk 200ml
- Sugar 450g
- Egg 4pcs

Pre-heat the baking oven to 300°C

Method
Pastry:
1. Mix all pastry ingredients and knead it into a dough.
2. Refrigerate the dough for 2 hours, re-knead it before use.
3. Roll out the dough and cut it to small dough balls, then press the balls into the tart shells.
4. Pour the egg custard filling into the shells. Bake it 5 minutes until the pastry turns gold brown, then bake for another 15 minutes at 150°C.

Egg Custard Filling:
1. Dissolve the sugar in the boiling water, set it aside to cool down.
2. Stir in the egg, evaporated milk with the cold sugar water.
3. Sieve the mixture and refrigerate it for 30 minutes before pouring it into the shells with pastry on.


Disclaimer: Note that these are NOT Tai Cheong Bakery egg tarts.
Pin It

41 comments:

  1. Tai Cheong egg tarts they may be not, but they sure look delicious~!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sorry to hear that the recipe was ... well , quite frankly, rubbish and your baking experience was a bad one.

    But to be honest, I honestly doubt that famous bakeries will give away their secrets... if not, won't they be losing business since technically, anybody who's baking could then bake them?

    Major respect and admiration for you tho who was able to think on your feet and rescue the recipe to something edible. I too hate ingredients being wasted!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have no clue..never even heard of them..but I must say yours look beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Kelly: Thank you! :)

    Celeste: I know!! I did a double take when I scrolled down & saw the recipe. I don't mind if they omitted some secret ingredient or extra step, but, ah well. Actually it's not true that famous bakeries or restaurants don't share their recipes. A few names come to mind, like Pierre Herme and Laduree! Anywaaay, thanks for your kind words. :)

    Monique: Merci, my friend. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Mmm! Perfect for the coming Asian New Year celebration!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I want one and now I have to go and look for the little tins...you are a bad influence on me Ju!
    You are a genius!
    I love these little egg tarts...I always get one at the Chinese bakery when i am near...
    I want one now with a nice cup of tea!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hooray for plan B!
    I hope you perfect the egg tart recipe, I love them so much!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hat off to you for trying this out Ju! I would be too scared after seeing the sugar level lol

    ReplyDelete
  9. OMG! Thanks for sharing this recipe. This will be on my must-bake list.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi! I've made these tarts too but I'm luckier not to experience what u did. Like u, I had the same reservations at first but somehow my egg tarts managed to set. They were indeed sickeningly sweet, I had to reduce the sugar by more than half. Also, I couldn't bind my dough at all with just 2 tsp evaporated milk, maybe it was a typo error and they meant 2 tablespoons. I had to bake my tarts a lot longer too but I thought it was just my oven.
    http://sotongcooks.blogspot.com/2010/10/tai-cheong-bakery-egg-tarts.html

    ReplyDelete
  11. I copied the recipe too but I was thrown off my the amount. Now, I am definitely sure the recipe does not work. Thanks for sharing your experience! Save me from wasting ingredients and time on trying the recipe. =D Your improvised version turned so good! Will try your improvised version instead.

    ReplyDelete
  12. It must be a typo. Most of the recipes I've found and played with call for far less sugar and water. I bet it should read 150ml water and 150 g sugar, which would be more in proportion to the eggs

    ReplyDelete
  13. yeh totally looks not quite right - the recipe i mean- HAHA. i had so many tai cheung tarts i should know =). i even knuckled down to which particular branch was better =P.

    ah... cant wait to go back

    ReplyDelete
  14. sotong: Thank YOU for sharing your experience. I am glad I'm not the only one who found the custard insanely sweet. Bleah. Me no going near this recipe. Ever.

    almostalwaysravenous: You, Foodie. :D

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hmmm...I wonder if there were any typos in the recipe you mentioned. Or they might just want people go back to buy their egg tarts instead of baking some at home, lol.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Isn't it so interesting how the longer we cook the more accurate we get at reading a recipe and knowing when something seems off? I am always sorry when I don't listen to that voice in my head - but you showed what a pro you are by saving the day!

    ReplyDelete
  17. i had tai cheong egg tarts on both my visits to Hong Kong last year, i didn't really like it. The ones that I had from random bakeries there were better! lol

    ReplyDelete
  18. Christine: Yah lor! ;)

    Trix: You said it, girlfriend. We should listen to our own instincts. Lesson learned. ;)

    Brad: Yeah, sometimes I wonder if it's just hype. I wouldn't hunt these down, but if they are within easy access, I would just buy to try. I think our own Tong Heng egg tarts are just as good. :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. yay for plan B.. the egg tarts look good!! the cup and saucer is so kopitiam-ish.. I like!

    ReplyDelete
  20. My cousin has been bugging me for days, telling me that she has found egg tart recipe in your site and she wants me to try baking for her. She loves egg custard! I am sure this is not what she was referring to though ...

    ReplyDelete
  21. OMG... I chanced upon the CNNGo website before and joted down the recipe as well! Never got around to bake them myself though.

    You were quick-witted to make sound modifications along the way and eventually churned out something which was acceptable to the palate. Other folks would have just chucked the whole lot into the bin I guess..

    Kudos to you Ju!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hahah.. You know what I think.. I think they gave out a fake recipe... if they are doing so well.. there is no way they'd share their successful recipe... ahahah... loved ur plan B!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Oh dear, a terrible fate with baking tarts (well, baking in general) is a common story with me so I definitely feel your pain. Regardless, I admire your quick wit - it turned out fabulous (with your adjustments naturally)! I, for the life of me, cannot save any dessert if it suffered part-way.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Lovely Egg Tarts of yours. Em... I am sure yours taste much much better then that given recipe from "CNNGo". Egg tart is one of my boi favourite snack shld give yr recipe a go when he recover :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. I also tried this recipe on Saturday after seeing it on CNNGO. Having tremendous doubts that it was even close to being their real "secret recipe," I proceeded to baking my first "daan tats" ever. I reduced the sugar to 400g, but the custard still came out SOOOOO sweet that I was pretty disappointeg, given that, like you, I am a "Little Miss Sweet Tooth" too. Great job on saving the custard though & your photos are lovely as usual. =D

    ReplyDelete
  26. Yes, I don't think they will give out their secret recipe too. But glad you managed to save the egg tarts.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I am SO GLAD I posted this. Thank you to those who left constructive comments! I hope that my near-fiasco will save more people from this unreliable recipe. TSK.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Tai cheong egg tart rocks!!! Too bad the recipe doesn't work =( how about the pastry? were they buttery and crumbly? To me, the pastry was what made it so good, most of the filling for "famous egg tarts" tast/ feel the same to me.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Me have a feeling that it was done on purpose and I am afraid that old saying about old Chinese enterpreuners never divulge their secrets still rings true. I am not a big fan of egg tarts so I wouldn't even try this but it was good you experimented with the six and "fixed" the rest!

    ReplyDelete
  30. very nice tarts ! perfect fpor tea time !!
    Cheers from France !!!
    Pierre de Paris

    ReplyDelete
  31. They still look so pretty! I just made some portuguese egg tarts, and it would be interesting to compare the difference between a Chinese egg tart and a Portuguese one!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hey there, if there's one thing you should know, it's that there's no ASIAN BUSINESS giving you out the exact recipe of their famous product. One or two of their recipes maybe, but not their "zhao pai" one. Neverthelss, ure new tarts look lovely!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Anon: I can understand if they left out a secret ingredient that gives the dish the x-factor, but to give a recipe that is completely "off", that's just ridiculous. Having said that, I do agree with some of the readers that there must have been a typo. Obviously there was no recipe tester for that article.

    You can check out my previous post on http://thelittleteochew.blogspot.com/2009/11/nasi-lemak-sambal-chilli.html

    It was one of a few recipes that was shared by very famous chef-owners in Singapore. Their stand is: I can give you the recipe, can you make the dish? The recipes were all published in our national newspaper, BTW. :)

    ReplyDelete
  34. i came across that recipe n wanyed try it, but was sceptical when the amount of liquid call for ^_^ so i pass it.
    Anyway thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Can I use regular milk instead of evaporated?

    ReplyDelete
  36. Anon: You actually want to try this recipe despite my horrible experience?!

    ReplyDelete
  37. how many egg tarts did you get to make ?

    ReplyDelete
  38. this is definitely not a pointless post as it saved a lot of us from wondering and going through the trouble of making an attempt to bake this. so, i thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  39. The tarts still look good despite all the horror you went thru. Can you please share with us your version/improvised recipe for egg tarts? I cant find bakeries & dim sum restaurants in Chicago that have more egg custard and less on pastry :(

    ReplyDelete