The egg tart (commonly romanized as daahn tāat (Cantonese Yale: daan6 taat1), dàntǎ (Mandarin), or dan tat) is a kind of custard tart found in Portugal, Macau, Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan, Argentina, Brazil, Britain, and various Asian countries. The dish consists of an outer pastry crust and is filled with egg custard and baked.
|Serving temperature||Fresh from oven|
|Main ingredients||Flour, butter, sugar, egg, custard, milk|
|Literal meaning||egg tart|
The egg tart is believed to have its origins in the Chinese city of Guangzhou. The English custard tart and the Portuguese pastel de nata are European forerunners of the Chinese egg tart, which displays characteristics of both. From the pastel de nata, English styles of cooking came to influence the tart. Chefs from Guangzhou arrived in Hong Kong bringing in tart recipes since Guangzhou had heavy European influence as a major port. Taking reference from the recipes of the custard tart, the chefs in Guangzhou turned it into egg tarts by filling egg custards in the middle instead, a similar way to make simmered eggs with milk (燉蛋). However, as butter was very costly at that time, it was difficult for the chefs to make puff pastry for the tarts. Therefore, they may have used lard instead. During the 1920s, as there was tough competition between department stores in attracting customers, the chef of each department store would invent a new dim sum or dessert weekly (每週美點) as an attraction. In 1927, Zhenguang Restaurant was the first to introduce egg tarts, which was very popular and attracted other restaurants to follow suit.
Many Guangzhou chefs migrated to Hong Kong and brought recipes with them. Hong Kong received the pastel de nata egg tart from Macau which was a colony of Portugal and combined aspects of the Portuguese tart with their own. The modern egg tarts were first introduced in Hong Kong in the 1940s through cha chaan tengs which served foreign-influenced dishes. Hence, the modern egg tarts emerged.
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Today, egg tarts are one of the more recognizable dim sum dishes offered in a dim sum house. In Guangzhou, there are 3 basic types of egg tarts: dan tat (egg tart), pastel de nata (Portuguese tart), coconut tart.
It is not only provided in yum cha, but also provided in bakeries.
Hong Kong cuisineEdit
Today, egg tarts come in many variations within Hong Kong cuisine, including egg white, milk, honey-egg, ginger-flavoured egg, which are variations of a traditional milk custard and egg custard, and also chocolate tarts, green-tea-flavoured tarts, and even bird's nest tarts.
Overall, egg tarts have two main types of crusts: shortcrust pastry or puff pastry, traditionally made with lard rather than butter or shortening. They are both filled with a rich custard that is much eggier and less creamy than English custard tarts.
Unlike English custard tarts, egg tarts are not sprinkled with ground nutmeg or cinnamon before serving. It may also be served piping hot rather than at room temperature like English custard tarts.
There is a slight difference between Hong Kong and Macau versions. Macau's version was brought by Portuguese settlers. It is believed the Portuguese egg tart made its way to Hong Kong, where it was influenced by British custard tarts by chefs from Guangzhou. The Macanese version has a browned top which more strongly resembles the pastel de nata. The most famous maker of Macanese egg tarts is Lord Stow's Bakery.
Egg tarts are widely available in Taiwan, but have experienced bursts of popularity. In 1997, for example, egg tart pop-up storefronts became very common in Taipei and other larger cities. People queued up around the block to get one. Resurgences in popularity are fairly regular and strangely unaware of the history, for example in 2015 and again in 2018 when they became a menu item at the American fast food chain KFC.
- "除了奶茶，還有蛋撻 - 香港文匯報". paper.wenweipo.com. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
- "Behind the scenes of Hong Kong's most loved egg tart bakery". Hiufu Wong. CNN Travel. 2 August 2010. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
- "Cantonese Egg Tarts Recipe". Christine. Christine's Recipes. 25 March 2009. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
- "World's 50 best foods". CNN Travel. 21 July 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2013.