Hong Kong Egg Tarts
'- 200 g all purpose flour (about 1 ½ cups)- 1/8 teaspoon salt- ½ cup sugar (plus 1 tablespoon)- 200 g unsalted butter (at room temperature but not softened; 14 tablespoons)- 2 tablespoons cold water- 1 cup hot water (scant 1 cup)- 3 large eggs (at room temperature)- 1/2 cup evaporated milk (at room temperature)- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
'- In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Add the butter and break it up roughly with your fingers, making sure to keep visible little chunks of butter in the dough. Add 2 tablespoons of cold water and bring the dough together. Add a tiny bit more water if necessary, but not too much. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 20 minutes.- Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured board, knead gently, and form into a neat rectangle. Roll the dough away from you (not back and forth), forming a 20 x 50cm rectangle (about 8x20 inches). Try to keep the edges even, and don’t overwork the butter streaks. Flecks of butter should still be visible in the dough.- Fold the top third of the dough down to the center, then the bottom third up and over that. Give the dough a quarter turn (left or right) and roll out again to three times the length. Fold the same way as before, cover, and chill for 30 minutes.- While the dough is resting, make the filling. Dissolve 1/2 cup sugar into the cup of hot water, and allow to cool to room temperature. Whisk eggs and evaporated milk together and then thoroughly whisk in the sugar water and vanilla. Strain through a very fine mesh strainer--this step is extremely important to getting a smooth, glassy egg tart.- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F/200 degrees C and position a rack in the lower third of your oven. Roll out the dough and cut circles to fit your tins (you can also use a shallow muffin pan). Press the dough into the tins and use a ladle to fill each tart shell until just reaching the edges of the outside crust. Once filled, immediately (but very carefully) transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C and bake another 10-12 minutes, until filling is just set (if a toothpick can stand up in it, it’s done). If you see the shells start to puff up a bit, crack open the oven a little, and they should settle back down.- You can let the tarts cool for a couple minutes and enjoy them while they’re still hot.