Friday, October 18, 2013

Egg Custard Tart from "Avatar: The Last Airbender"

          According to the "Avatar Extras" for the episode "The Great Divide" (ATLA s.1, ep.11), Aang's favorite type of tart is Earth Kingdom egg custard tart (or the info. could be interpreted as Aang's favorite food in general). Egg tart is a dessert popular in Hong Kong with influences from both Portugal and England. In this episode, Aang and co. must pass through a huge, no-food-allowed canyon along with two feuding Earth Kingdom refugee groups. Both groups break the no-food rule by sneaking treats inside the canyon, and while Aang is reprimanding them he becomes distracted by what the Zhang group has brought--a large egg custard tart.

(video from Ph03n!x)

Note: Using the recipe below you can also make small tarts in tartlet pans or a muffin tin, but be sure to adjust the baking times, as smaller portions will cook faster.


Earth Kingdom Egg Custard Tart

Ingredients:
1 Uncooked Tart or Pie Crust (regular 9" size) OR Homemade Asian Tart Dough (recipe here)
3/4 Cup Water
1/3 Cup Sugar
4 Large Eggs
1/3 Cup Evaporated Milk
1/2 tsp. Clear Vanilla Extract (optional)
(If you use regular brown vanilla it will change the color of the custard.)

Important Items:
Fine Mesh Strainer

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray your pie pan with non-stick spray & smooth the tart or pie crust into the pan, doing your best to avoid trapping any air under the dough. And as you can see from the screen shot above, the tart is not fancily made, so no need to flute the crust edges. Bake on the middle oven rack for about 10 mins or so to solidify (pre-bake) the crust.
2. In a medium sauce pan bring the water & sugar to a boil until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pot from the heat & let it cool to room temperature (about 10 mins). In the meantime, beat the eggs in a medium bowl. Once the sugar water has cooled, hold a fine mesh strainer over the pot & pour in the eggs. The strainer will catch any unmixed egg bits & will strain most of the bubbles. Next, whisk in the evaporated milk & the optional clear vanilla.
3. Once the pie crust is sufficiently pre-baked, open the oven & slide out the oven rack that the crust is sitting on. Holding the strainer over the empty crust, pour in the egg mixture (if there are any little bubbles, gently scoop them off with a spoon). Carefully slide the rack back into the oven & bake for about 30 mins or until the egg custard is solidified & a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Tip: If you'd like to remove the tart from the pan once it's cooled down a little, put a large plate over the top & flip both the plate & the tart. Carefully remove the pie pan from the tart & then put another plate on the tart's upward-facing, exposed bottom. Invert the tart & plates so that the tart is right-side-up & remove the plate from the top. Serve warm or chilled. Tastes nice sprinkled with a little pumpkin pie spice or nutmeg.

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