Sunday, January 16, 2005

Dan-ta a la 'mouse 

Dan-ta are the chinese egg custard tarts that are one of my favorite dim-sum dishes. When the charming and sadly blogless 'mouse made reference to his dan-ta recipe in a comment at PCAMB, there were enough 'oohing' and 'aahing' sounds that 'mouse (who has guest-blogging privileges several places) posted said recipe here.

It took me a while to get to it, but here's what happened when I made dan-ta in my kitchen. This recipe is fabulously simple. Take six ingredients: butter, cream cheese, flour, eggs, milk, sugar. Mix the first three together to form a dough. Press the dough into muffin tins to form tart shells. Mix the remaining three ingredients together. (I used the same bowl both times.) Fill the shells with custard mixture. Bake. Allow to cool slightly. (You won't want to wait longer.)

Thanks perhaps to Seattle's humidity, the butter and cream cheese mixture sucked up one quarter cup more flour than the recipe called for before becoming a workable dough. As a result, the shells tasted a little more floury than I would like. Also, there was more dough than the recipe anticipated, and I failed to compensate for that. After pressing the dough into the muffin tins, and filling the resulting shells with the custard mixture, there was custard left over. Next time, if extra flour goes into the dough, I'll not use all of it to make the shells. I hated not using that last third cup or so of custard, but it just wouldn't fit.

I do not recommend using a 24-year-old electric oven for much of anything, especially baking. Unfortunately, until our long-overdue kitchen remodel is done, that's what I have. I thought that the oven temperature ran about 10 degrees low, but based on today's empirical evidence, I think it's even lower. The baking time was 50+ minutes at 335 degrees (so-called), and the tops were not what I would call golden brown. Or was it the pastry that was supposed to be golden brown? If so, it was.

My friend nina came over this afternoon for Sunday afternoon coffee, complete with a fire in the fireplace and dan-ta. She had never before tasted them. I think 'mouse would've enjoyed the look on her face when she bit into the first one; I certainly did.

Updated 1/23: Oh my! I forgot to mention that they were delicious! Really yummy! Thanks 'mouse!