These fall-inspired Chinese Bakery-style Pumpkin Hong Kong egg tarts has a flaky yet crumbly crust and is filled with a pumpkin spice creamy custard. Take your ordinary pumpkin pie to the next level with these bite-sized pumpkin Hong Kong Egg tarts!
This is not a regular Chinese Hong Kong egg tart, it's a cool fall pumpkin Hong Kong egg tart. It has the same flaky crumbly crust but with a new pumpkin spice eggy filling twist! To be honest, it is pretty much like a pumpkin pie in a Hong Kong tart crust. But it will be the perfect bite-sized dessert to finish off your delicious home-cooked Thanksgiving dinner or to treat yourself with! Make some new autumn traditions this year with these pumpkin Hong Kong egg tarts.
If you want to switch it up this Thanksgiving with some new Asian Fusion flavors, try out my Kimchi Mac and Cheese, Miso Scalloped Potatoes, and Sticky Rice Stuffing. And for dessert how about some mini burnt basque pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin spice mochi muffins, and some apple dumplings with miso caramel!
What is a Hong Kong Egg Tart?
It is important to note that there are two different kinds of egg tarts the Hong Kong egg tart and the Portuguese egg tart. The Hong Kong Egg tart was influenced by British custard tarts. The Hong Kong egg tart has a more glassy and smooth filling with a more delicately laminated and flaky yet crumbly pastry crust.
The Portuguese egg tart or Macau's version was brought over to China by Portuguese colonizers. Portuguese egg tarts have a signature caramelized top and a thin layered crispy pastry shell.
This dessert is a little bit of a fusion. It takes the elements of the Hong Kong egg tart but with an added pumpkin spice element for Fall. Think of it as pumpkin pie meets Hong Kong egg tart. Perfect little bites for everyone to enjoy.
Kitchen Tools For This Recipe
- Kitchen Scale: for the best results, you should use a kitchen scale! Measuring flour using measuring cups can vary widely depending on the way you scoop the flour and if there are any air pockets in your flour. The most precise way to measure these ingredients is with a kitchen scale.
- Stand Mixer: the first dough will be pretty sticky when you first start to work the dough together. You will need a stand mixer in order for the dough to come together. Alternatively, you can use your hands to mix with a pastry cutter but it may be difficult to work with because it is so sticky.
- Rolling Pin: you will need a rolling pin to roll out the pastry dough.
- Fluted Pastry Cutter: You will need a fluted pastry cutter if you want to have the ribbed shape of the pastry.
- Egg Tart Mold: I opted for the re-usuable egg tart molds, but you can also use the disposable aluminum tart molds as well.
Ingredients For This Recipe
The ingredients for these Pumpkin Hong Kong Egg Tarts can be found at your local grocery store. There are no hard-to-find ingredients here!
For the Flaky Crust
- All Purpose Flour: you will only need to use simple all-purpose flour for this dough.
- Unsalted butter: the butter is what gives the dough its crumbliness and flakiness that we all love.
- Granulated Sugar: the sugar sweetens the dough.
- Salt: adds a subtle hint of flavor to the dough
- Large Egg: the egg binds the dough together.
- Ice Water: the water is what brings the butter and flour together to form the dough. Make sure it is ice cold water or else the butter will be overly soft and hard to manage.
- Vegetable Shortening: the shortening adds another layer of fat to the oil dough which will aid the butter in creating those flakey layers that we want.
Pumpkin Custard Filling
- Pumpkin Puree: what is a pumpkin custard without pumpkin! I always use Libby's pumpkin puree it has the best natural pumpkin flavor in my opinion.
- Light Brown Sugar and Granulated Sugar: the combination of light brown and granulated sugar adds a subtle depth of warmth from the molasses and sweetness to the custard.
- Maple Syrup: maple syrup adds an additional fall flavor, sweetness and complexity to the custard.
- Kosher Salt: salt is always necessary to balance out the sugar.
- Heavy Cream: heavy cream adds a layer of creaminess to the custard.
- Evaporated Milk: you can alternatively use whole milk as well. However, evaporated milk yields a creamier and thicker consistency than whole milk.
- Large Eggs: the eggs are what hold the shape of this pumpkin custard. They are what create that silky smooth custard filling.
- Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves: these fall spices are essential for that delicious pumpkin spice flavor.
- Vanilla: the vanilla contributes to the warm sweet flavor of the custard.
How To Make This Recipe
Making this pumpkin Hong Kong egg tarts recipe is a labor of love, but believe me, it is so worth it. Nothing tastes better than a homemade crust. Alternatively, you can skip the most complex part by buying pre-made puff pastry or pie dough and filling your tins with that, and go right down to the pumpkin filling.
- Hand mix the flour, sugar, salt and butter. In the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Then add the chilled butter and break up the butter with your fingers and mix until the dough resembles wet sand.
- Knead the egg and water with stand mixer. Using the dough hook attachment, add the egg and water and mix on medium speed for about 15 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. It should not be overly sticky. If it is add 1-2 tablespoons of flour.
- Wrap and let rest. Take the dough out of the mixer and wrap with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
- Hand mix the dough together. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the flour, shortening and butter by hand or with a rubber spatula until smooth and combined.
- Wrap and chill. Press the dough out into a 6"x6" square and wrap with plastic wrap and rest for 10 minutes in the refrigerator
Assemble the Dough
- Roll out the 1st dough. On a well floured surface, knead the 1st dough until it is smooth and round. Then flatten the dough into a long 12"x 6" inch rectangle.
- Fold the 2nd dough inside the 1st dough. Place the 2nd 6x6 inch dough onto one side of the rectangle and fold the 1st dough over to cover the 2nd dough. Pinch to seal the sides.
- Roll out the combined dough and fold. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into an 8 x 18" rectangle. Fold in both the 8 inch sides towards the middle leaving 1 cm width in the middle. Then fold the dough in half again like a book.
- Roll and fold one more time. Roll the dough out into another 8 x 18 inch rectangle. Fold in both the 8 inch sides towards the middle leaving 1 cm width in the middle. Then fold the dough in half again like a book. Gently press don the folded dough to seal.
- Cover the dough and chill. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and rest the dough in the refrigerator for about 25 minutes.
- Divide the dough in half. Place one half on a well floured work surface and the other half wrapped in the refrigerator.
- Roll the dough and cut with pastry cutter. Roll the dough out into about a ⅛ inch thick rectangle. Using a large, round, fluted pastry cutter, cut the dough into about 8 circles of the dough.
- Mold the dough into the tart mold. Gently place the dough in the center of the pastry cup and using your thumbs press the dough into the bottom and sides of the mold until the edges are slightly over the edges of the pastry cup. Try not to press too tightly it will damage the layers. Cover with plastic wrap and repeat with the remaining dough.
- Preheat the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 F or 162 C.
- Caramelize the sugars and add the milks. In a heavy-bottomed medium pot on medium high heat, mix together the pumpkin, brown sugar, granulated sugar, maple syrup and salt until it begins to simmer. Then reduce the heat to medium, gently simmer and stir for about 10 minutes until the sugar is caramelized and glossy. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the cream and milk until combined. Remove from heat.
- Add the eggs and spices. In a heat proof bowl, whisk the eggs until combined. Temper the eggs by slowly pouring in 2 ladles of the mixture, one at a time, to the eggs while whisking vigorously. Then pour the egg mixture back into the pumpkin mixture, whisking to combine until very smooth. Lastly, stir in the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and vanilla. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove any bumps.
- Bake and serve. Place the tart pans onto a baking tray and pour the mixture into the tart pastry shells leaving about ¼ inch of space at the top. Bake at 325 F (162 C) until the edges are set but the center is very slightly jiggly, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely. Serve with fresh whipped cream and extra cinnamon.
Tips For This Recipe
- Keep kneading until the dough forms and becomes less tacky. It may seem overly sticky at first but if you continue kneading the dough it will come together. If it still is overly sticky add 1-2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and continue kneading.
- Substitute vegetable shortening for lard. You can alternatively substitute vegetable shortening for lard to get the same flaky layers.
- If the dough is too loose and hard to work with, place the dough in the refrigerator. This will firm the dough right back up and make it easier to work with. This will vary depending on the temperature inside your home.
- Roll the combined dough gently. When rolling the combined doughs together, roll gently to prevent the dough from ripping through the layers. The 2nd fat dough layered with the first dough is what creates the lamination and the flaky layers. If you break 1st layer during rolling then the fat layer may bleed into the other layers creating a more crumbly and less flaky crust.
- Make sure to temper the eggs before adding it to the hot mixture. When mixing the eggs with the warmed pumpkin mixture, whisk vigorously to prevent the eggs from turning scrambled. If you are unsure, you can always wait until the pumpkin mixture has cooled a little bit before mixing it with the eggs.
Storage and Make-Ahead Instructions
You can store these pumpkin Hong Kong egg tarts once they have cooled completely in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. It is best to serve them within 24 hours to maintain the crispy crust.
You can make the pastry dough in advance and store it wrapped in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Simply bring to room temperature before rolling and assembling the tarts.
Alternatively, you can press the dough into the tins and freeze them for up to 1 month in an airtight container and bring them to room temperature before baking.