Egg tart and mike tea at Wing Hap Shing restaurant at 113-115 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan. 27MAY13 (Photo by Felix Wong/South China Morning Post via Getty Images)
Food - Drink
Daan Tat: The Egg Tart That's A Chinese Bakery Standard
A Chinese bakery often carries layer cakes decorated in frosting for special occasions, but its other stock is far more thrilling, with pineapple buns, mooncakes, sesame balls with red bean paste, pork floss buns, and more on display. One must-try Chinese pastry is egg tarts or dan taat, a tiny treat of flaky pastry and bright yellow custard filling.
A daan tat is a round, flaky tart with a silky yellow custard filling. Contrary to popular belief, dan taat does not originate from the pastel de nata, a Portuguese tart that looks very similar; it may have roots in 1920s-era Guangzhou, when British businessmen and bakers British egg tarts to the province, and Chinese bakers put their own spin on it.
After WWII, the daan tat migrated to Hong Kong, where the pastry evolved into its modern form that uses Cantonese-style puff pastry made with lard. While a good daan tat from a bakery is always a treat, not to mention easy to find if you live near a Chinatown or East Asian supermarket, the freshest tarts come from your own oven.
To make dan taat, you need flour, salt, butter or lard, cold water, granulated sugar, hot water, evaporated milk, eggs, and vanilla extract. After making the dough and letting it rest overnight, prepare the filling and strain it to remove air bubbles; after assembling the tarts, you can use a fluted cutter to make an elegant-looking crust before baking.