Great British Bake Off: Egg Tart

Episode 5: Pies

Recipe (Signature Challenge): (Giant) Egg Tart

The one area of baking that I know I could really improve in is actually this episode’s topic – pies! I am actually decent at making a standard pie, but I cannot do crumbles or anything with that kind of “topping”. So maybe it doesn’t really apply to this episode. In this episode I learned that the British concept of “pie” is very different from the North American version. I mean I grew up with apple pies and the odd chicken pot pie, but British people have a whole genre of baking dedicated to pies! The pies that the competitors were creating were serious business.

So the first Challenge was the ‘Signature’ and the competitors were asked to make a custard-based pie. The competitors made beautiful and elaborate pies – rhubarb & custard, tropical-themed custard, figs floating in custard…wow! I think the most common “custard” pie/tart in North America is the lemon square. I knew I didn’t want to challenge myself with a very complex custard tart. I didn’t even know where to begin in terms of flavor combinations! And quite frankly, I knew I would be eating it so I had to make something I knew I would want to fork up. I decided to do a twist on an old favorite, and make a giant egg tart.

Egg tarts are a Chinese “dessert”, typically served at dim sum (the equivalent of high tea) and have an amazing flaky crust and a delicate eggy custard filling. They are usually served slightly warm and are most often the favourite part of the meal for me. I thought it would be fun to create a giant version of this Chinese treat.

I used a recipe from a Dim Sum cookbook I have, it’s super old school so I know it’s fairly authentic. The recipe makes 12 mini tarts, but I used an 8″ pie tin instead.

The recipe’s dough is very interesting. It is comprised of two doughs: a water-shortening dough and a flaky dough. The water-shortening dough is pretty simple and like a typical dough. The flaky dough however is just flour and oil! I don’t know if it was because my apartment was particularly warm but it was the consistency of sludge. The method is to actually combine the two (envelop the flaky dough with the water-shortening) to create a lamination effect but I found the doughs to be extremely gloopy. Next time, I will chill the flaky dough so it holds together better.

The custard is really simple – eggs, water & sugar! It’s a sugar syrup mixed into beaten eggs. It’s poured into the rolled out pie shell (no need to blind bake) and baked until the edges are set. You then turn off the heat, place a tray over the pie and let the custard cook/set.

Egg Tart UnbakedThe egg tart, before baking. Note: Put the shell on a baking sheet AND THEN POUR THE CUSTARD IN! Do not try and transport a filled shell onto a baking sheet! (spillage ensues)

Egg TartFresh out of the oven. 

Egg TartCustard up close.

Egg TartA little slice.

I was a bit skeptical of this process, but I have to say the custard turned out beautifully. The crust wasn’t as flaky as I would have liked, but my taste testers thoroughly enjoyed it!

Overall: 7/10

Next up: Technical Challenge – Mini Pear Pies

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Categories: Great British Bake Off, pies

Author:bainvancouver

Communications specialist by day, baker/cook/triathlete/dog-owner by night. I blog about my adventures inside and outside my kitchen. Come take a look - no big whoop!

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