Chinese egg tarts (蛋塔)

We are slowly getting settled in our new house. We have one week before we close on the old house and a lot of boxes still need to be moved over. It’ll get done – I hope.

Our daughter seems to be doing well in her new environment, and one thing that definitely hasn’t changed is her love of reading. Her current favorite book is a collection of Curious George stories (she particularly like “Curious George Goes Camping,” where a “sunk” [Addison terminology for ‘skunk’] sprays George). Another book she enjoys is a book that I picked up in Brooklyn a few years back. I was pregnant with her at the time and found this fabulous children’s book called Yum Yum Dim Sum. The story highlights several dim sum dishes, including many of the ones I love to enjoy with my family.

Although the book is in English, I often read it to Addison in Mandarin Chinese so she can continue to become bilingual. She knows how to say the dishes, and she even surprised my parents one day when she randomly said “oolong tea” in Chinese. One of the dim sum plates that is mentioned in the story is Chinese egg tarts, or 蛋塔 (pronounced “dan tah”). I have loved these tarts for as long as I can remember and buy them at Chinese bakeries whenever I visit one (unfortunately for me, the closest quality bakery is a good 2 hours away).

My mom used to make these egg tarts when I was little, and I would maniacally eat them up like candy. The flaky buttery crust holds the silky smooth egg custard. The texture is almost like creme brulee, but of course, Asian style!

I found that the crust was way too thin for 20 tarts, so I ended up with 19 smaller tarts (using regular sized muffin tins). I also had too much filling, so I don’t know where I went wrong. I’d suggest cutting the filling down by 1/3 or 1/2 so you don’t have too much left over. I did not make the changes in the recipe below.

Chinese egg tarts (蛋塔)

These egg tarts are a staple in Chinese bakeries. The shortbread-like crust is filled with a smooth, flan-like interior.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Keyword: Appetizer, Asian
Servings: 20
Author: Eva Bakes



  • 1 and 1/2 cups + 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt


  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2-3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cups butter softened and cubed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Make the filling

  • Pour all custard ingredients into a pot or saucepan and warm over low heat.
  • Whisk the egg custard in one direction to avoid making air bubbles and continue until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Pour custard through a strainer to get rid of any solid or cooked parts of the eggs. Cool and set aside.
  • After the custard has cooled, skim off foam or solid parts. The filling should be silky and yellow.

Make the crust

  • Sift the flour and powdered sugar into a mixing bowl.
  • Add in the butter, egg, and salt. Using a mixer (or do it by hand like I did), mix on the lowest speed.
  • Once the dough comes together, roll it out into a log on a floured surface and cut into 20 pieces.
  • Roll the dough into a ball and slightly flatten it with your palm.
  • Place the dough in muffins (or tart pans) and use your thumb or knuckles to press and shape the walls.

Assemble the tarts

  • Pour the custard into the tart shells (80% full).
  • Bake at 350ºF for 20 minutes or until the the egg custard is jiggly (like Jello) if you give the pan a shake.
  • Cool for 30 minutes and gently lift them out with a butter knife.


Source: anjelikuh*


  1. Christine @ Christine's Kitchen Chronicles
    August 13, 2012 / 1:04 pm

    Oh my god I LOVE don tat. Though, I prefer the flaky, buttery crust-style to the shortbread kind. Yours look and sound great!My Aunt created a homemade version that's quite good…I'm going to have to try to get the "recipe" from her so I can try (who are we kidding, we all know real Chinese people don't write these kinds of things down!).

    • Eva
      August 13, 2012 / 1:44 pm

      Hi Christine! Actually, I should have used a better descriptor for the crust – it is very buttery and thin. I totally agree that real Chinese people don't have recipes or measurements! It's usually just a splash of this and a bit of that. Let me know if you are able to get your Aunt's recipe!

  2. kirbie
    August 13, 2012 / 4:48 pm

    Oh, one of my favorites! It's been a while since I've made these, i will have to try out your recipe.

  3. Anonymous
    August 15, 2012 / 3:10 pm

    Oh, these look delicious Eva! My husband loves custard pie, so I think he would love these. How cute in mini!

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