Macau Egg Custard tarts

(You know you’ve been talking too much about eggs when your google ads have switched to ‘Egg Donor Websites’… Sorry! haha)

On a trip to Macau last January i was introduced to the local specialty of egg custard tarts also known as Portuguese egg custards. I was taken to a famous local bakery called “Lord Stow’ and upon entering the shop i knew i was in trouble, the buttery smell of the freshly baked pastries was enough to make you faint, just like in Parisian bakeries at 7am. I was hooked!

Those aren’t the same egg custards you get at your local chinese restaurant, i’m talking about layers upon layers of the richest freshly made puff pastry filled with the creamiest custard imaginable, once baked they are brushed with a syrup and baked some more to create a caramelized skin. The pastry is so crisp and buttery it feels like it’s been fried and works perfectly to offset the creaminess of the custard. Intense!

Since i gave up on the idea to move to Macau, find an apartment upstairs the bakery, become a tour guide on a bicycle and spend the rest of my life eating egg custards, i did the next best thing. I tried to re-create those artery clogging delicacies at work. And i did! Those life altering attempts coincided magically with a request from Ann at redacted recipes to enter a mini-pie contest. So Ann, if you don’t mind, i’m going to submit these as my entry. I think they qualify, the size, the crust and the caramelized-ness forming a thin top layer… don’t they look like mini-pies?

Finding a recipe was a bit of a stretch but i finally found a descent one in a Hong- Kong website. The puff pastry is made from scratch so it’s a bit of a challenge for the average cook but definetly worth the effort. I’m not claiming to have re-created the original recipe but in my opinion it’s pretty damn close.

Oh and i almost forgot!… Ladies, please click on my google links and donate your eggs so i can get my 15 cents…okay bad bad…bad joke! *Zen slapping himself* :-)

Macau Egg Custard Tarts
(makes 12)

Puff Pastry:

  • 2 ½ cup flour
  • 1 tbsp milk powder
  • 2 tbsp shortening
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup ice water (approximately)
  • ¾ cup butter


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Syrup (optional):

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water


1. Sift together flour and milk powder into a mixing bowl, add shortening, salt, egg, water and mix until it forms into a smooth ball. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
2. Bring butter to room temp, and cut into slices approximately 3mm thick.
3. Roll dough out into a big rectangle and arrange butter pieces on half of the dough, fold dough over to cover the butter pieces, press with hands and then roll out with rolling pin. Sprinkle top with flour, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
4. Turn dough a quarter turn, fold into threes (like a letter) and roll out. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes. Repeat this 4 times.
5. Finally, roll the dough out into a large rectangle and fold onto itself like a jelly-roll. Let it rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
6. Meanwhile combine the cream and the milk and bring to a boil. Whisk the sugar with the egg yolks until the mixture is pale, about 2 minutes. Slowly pour the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture while whisking constantly. Strain and reserve.
7. Boil the sugar and water to make a syrup. Cool and reserve.
8. Preheat oven to 400F. Butter and flour a twelve-cup muffin pan.
9. Cut twelve 1cm thick slices from the rolled up dough (about 1 ounce each). Store the rest of the dough in fridge or freezer for later use.
10. Wet your fingers with cold water and shape each slice into a disc big enough to line a muffin cup.
11. Line the muffin cups and fill with egg mixture about ¾ full (about 3 tbsp per muffin cup)
12. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes, until brown spots appear on the surface of the filling. Brush gently with syrup (if using) and return to the oven until the top is caramelized.
13. Cool slightly on rack. Eat HOT if you can.

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  • Lashawna/Superspice

    Not much of a custard fan,but I’m sure it is good!!!

  • A Z R A


  • Claude-Olivier

    celle ci, je la teste, c’est noté et c’est pour tout bientot! Cheers

  • Ann

    Oh these qualify… and they remind me of custard tarts in England. Awesome! Thanks for joining the revolution! We’ll be posting a round-up on Jan 1.

    Ann at Redacted Recipes

  • Patricia Scarpin

    These tarts are delicious!!

    They’re are common here, too – Brazil was a Portuguese colony for quite a while, too, like Macau.

  • FeelingFlirty

    I was hooked when you said Paris at 7am. I’ve never been to Macau but I think we must plan to go this year. I will remember the egg custard tarts for sure.

    I’m moving to New Zealand on Monday so I’ll try to make these when I get settled. If I succeed I’ll brag about it here.

  • Jack

    Now they look perfect, and perfectly delicious. They also look similar to the custard tarts sold at a favourite London deli I posted about recently (see pic at the bottom of the post). Yours are better, of course, ‘cos you made ’em yourself!

  • Chicken & Waffles

    Slap my ass and call me Larry. Sweet Jesus, do those look exquisite?! I am ready to bathe in that custard, Zen-man!!

    Thanks for a sweet note in a long week.

  • Colleen

    Salut, Zen

    These look divine!

    Is it possible to put a bar or tag list of your recipies on the main part of your blog for easy searching?

  • Zen Chef

    Hi Feeling Flirty!
    Moving to New Zealand huh! Good luck to you! Come back to us soon!

  • Zen Chef

    Jack thank you!
    I didn’t know you could get those in Brooklyn, i will check out that place next time i’m around!

  • Zen Chef

    Chicken & Waffles, yes you can use the custard as a face mask also. Just apply and leave it on overnight! hahahahahaha

  • Julie

    Hi Zen Chef. I followed you here from Chicken and Waffles’ page…

    Anyhoo, ces tartes me rappellent Paris aussi…les petites tartes aux fraises, aux cerises, au citron, etc. Mais je ne crois pas que c’est la meme chose…

    En tout cas, j’aimerais bien les gouter!

  • b

    Thank you for the comment on my blog! What a delicious treat! I may have to get brave one day and try to make these (sadly, I am that average cook/baker you describe in your post). I look forward to returning and reading/drooling over more!


  • §pinzer

    about time you tasted something exoticly delicious like the portugese egg tart!! They are so good I practically cream my pants too hahha

    ok my bad. no it’s ur influence, so don’t be sorry. lawl.

    sigh, it looks so delicious :)

  • a n n n a

    Macau – Portugese Egg Tart is the best egg tart in the world. I got a recipe for the egg tart from the newspaper. The methods aren’t difficult (except for the whipping part) and the ingredients are easy to get.

    We have ice egg tart here. It tastes like ice cream and nth like egg tart. Haha.. A mimic of egg tart only.

  • Patricia Scarpin

    We call them “pastéis de nata”! :)

  • Zen Chef

    Salut Julie!
    Ahhhh les petites tartelettes aux fruits… Qu’est ce que c’est bon quand meme! Celle ci sont differentes, plus riche mais bien aussi bonne! La pate feuilletee est incroyable, elle donne l’impression d’être frite!

  • Colleen

    Zen, This is off topic, but do you know a good buche de noel recipe?


  • ludovic roif

    Y-a-t-il une différence entre ces pâtisseries et le pasteis que l’on trouve à Lisboa et accessoirement à Paris ?
    J’ai beaucoup aimé Macau… ce mélange entre la culture méditerranéenne et la culture chinoise… et ces viandes sucrées qui sont proposées un peu partout tu as vu ça ?

  • sognatrice

    Too funny about your Google ads…but I’m a firm believer that you can never have too many eggs. Of either kind, really 😉

  • Kinni

    I’m not one for desserts, but the texture of those looks bad ass. I’d like to try them made savory, maybe with some thyme.

  • b

    That sounds like a great deal to me!! Now if I only lived in NYC!! :) But drooling over your recipes and thoroughly enjoying your narrative/experience with food is indeed wonderful!

  • Zen Chef

    Colleen, i think i do but i have to look for it. I will let you know!

  • Zen Chef

    Salut ludovic!
    Je pense que c’est pareil que les ‘pasteis de nata’ que l’on trouve au Portugual et au Brezil sauf qu’il sont extremement bien fait. Je n’ai jamais eu une pate feuilletee aussi bonne que ca!

    Oui j’ai goute aux viandes sucrees, super bon aussi. C’est vraiment interessant comme coin!

  • Zen Chef

    Sognatrice…i agree! hehehe
    Thank you for stopping by!

  • Zen Chef

    Not a bad idea!
    That would make an extra rich and creamy kinda quiche…yum

  • AzAzura

    Gorgeous photos! amusing and witty blog..
    Texture of the custard reminds me of those “commis cheffing” days of mine where my creme brulee went overcooked in the oven.
    In Malaysia we call this tart as Portugese egg tart and can be found at Kings confectionery and now this corporation call it “PortuKINGs” tart..


  • Zen Chef

    Thank you for stopping by!
    I have also painful memories of overcooked creme brulee hahaha… takes a lot of therapy to get over it!

  • Chicopea

    omgosh u made this! so friekin awesome. I remember having them at Macau thinking I must be dreaming, except I never went to sleep 😉

  • Anonymous

    I tried the recipe .. its good but maybe a bit too sweet. If you don’t like it too sweet, you should reduced the sugar by a bit.

  • Juli Ong

    Finally…..I have found out this recipe.
    Yesterday, i just try to made egg custard, but it wa failed. :-(

    I will work this recipe out by this week…..

    Wish me luck… And Thanks Chef….:-D

  • Anite

    hello, is there anyone who can give me this recipe in french please? ^^”

    I can’t understand what “2 tbsp shortening” correspond

    Thanks a lot!!

  • Katy

    I don’t recommend this recipe to my friends. The pastry is totally different from the one I ate in Macau. It’s not puffy and too hard. The filling is good but too sweet. I would rather try the Hong Kong style egg tart, which is easier and more tasty than this recipe.