Egg tarts from Lord Stow‘s bakery are rather pricey. But they’re addictive. And the nearest outlet is more than an hour’s drive from our house. I figured why not try to reproduce them at home. I wish I could make puff pastry from scratch but I can’t. I wish frozen puff pastry was available in our neighborhood but it isn’t. I had to do with the usual pie crust. Didn’t really matter. The custard was just glorious. Could do with a wee bit more improvement but I got the thrust of it.
You can use whatever pie crust recipe you have. If puff pastry is available, it’s ideal. I won’t bother with the pie crust recipe but go straight to the custard recipe.
There are two secrets: coconut cream and honey.
This recipe is good for nine mini-custard pies.
You need 2 cups of coconut cream. I made mine from powdered coconut cream so don’t worry if fresh coco cream is not available. When I say cream, it’s the equivalent of kakang-gata, the first squeeze from grated coconut.
You will also need 1-1/4 cups of fresh milk (next time I’ll use fresh carabao’s milk), 1/4 c. of pure honey, 2 egg yolks and 2 level tablespoonfuls of flour.
Mix everything together in a saucepan except the egg yolks. Cook over medium heat until the mixture starts to thicken. Off the heat, beat in the egg yolks.
Pour into prepared (unbaked) crusts. I used a muffin pan but you can use a regular pie pan — one large pie entails less work than nine mini-pies.
Bake in a very hot (pre-heated) oven, about 180oC until the tops are lightly browned. The tops will have dark spots — that’s the way they should be.
Notes (these are the things I will observe next time I bake these little sinful monsters):
Don’t overcook the custard mixture because too long in the heat will make the creams curdle.
On the stovetop, cook just until the mixture thickens. It will still be of pouring consistency but that’s really how it should be.
The oven must be very, very hot. Even if the custard is cooked just right on the stovetop, prolonged exposure to heat in the oven will still make the creams curdle.
This is where I made a mistake. I was too anxious that the crusts would burn that I started baking the mini-pies in a moderately hot oven. It wasn’t until after about 10 minutes, when the tops wouldn’t brown, that I turned up the heat. If I hadn’t made a mistake, the custard should be creamy and not have a mottled appearance. Despite the not-too-perfect texture, they were absolutely delicious.
Practice makes perfect, as they say. I’ll get myself some puff pastry before baking these custard pies again.
P.S. Forgot to mention — these mini-custard pies are what the girls brought for school recess today. Two each because they’d end up with nothing to eat when classmates ask them to share.