I Live for Dan Tat

What is “dan tat“, you ask?

When I was growing up, my parents, sisters, and I would visit our family in Toronto a few times a year. While I most looked forward to playing with my cousins and seeing our grandparents, I always had a special place in my heart for dan tat, a.k.a. egg custard tarts. If you have Asian blood in you, you know what I mean. My aunt knows my love of dan tat, so she always had a box of them whenever we stayed over in her apartment. I could eat three dan tat in one sitting. I jest not. They are about 4 – 5 inches in diameter, so they ain’t tiny.

I’ve been wanting to make dan tat for a long time, so with my upcoming trip to China, I figured now would be a great time. I scoured the Internet for a good recipe and discovered this somewhat complicated recipe from Edible Memories. Achieving a true flaky pastry is a hallmark of dan tat and requires extra effort that I did not feel like exerting have time for, SO … easy Jessified pastry it is!

Dan Tat (Egg Custard Tart)
Adapted from Edible Memories
Makes 30 mini dan tat or 10-15 regular sized dan tat

2 cups flour
12 tbsp butter, cold (1.5 sticks)
1 Tbsp sugar
Cold water

1 egg, gently beaten
3/4 cup milk (I used skim)
1/3 cup sugar
splash vanilla extract

If you have a food processor, add butter, flour, and sugar and pulse until the mixture looks like cornmeal. Alternatively, you can sift the flour and sugar together and work the butter in with your fingers. Don’t let the butter get too warm!


Pour about 1 Tbsp of cold water into flour and butter mixture and stir, either with a spoon or with the food processor. Continue to add water in small increments and stir until the dough pulls together.

Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and put in the fridge to chill while you prepare the filling. To make the filling, stir together the filling ingredients until well combined and there are no yolk streaks.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Flour a cutting board and place your chilled dough on it. Roll out dough to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness. Use a biscuit cutter or glass to cut out circles of dough.

I knew there was a good reason why we put wineglasses on the wedding registry.

Place dough circles into foil or paper-lined muffin tins and press down gently. I used a mini muffin tin so that I could eat three tarts without feeling like a puffed up dan tat.

Fill dough cups about 3/4 full with egg filling. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until egg filling gets puffy.

Aren’t they beautiful?

Look at that flaky pastry!

Yum, yum, and more yum! I haven’t had dan tat in a few years, so these bite-sized egg tarts were just what I needed. So easy, and so delicious. They taste like sweet egg custard, but very mild. They’re not too eggy because the filling is mostly milk. Smooth and sweet. I highly recommend them!

Other than making dan tat and working, I’ve been preparing for my upcoming trip to China. I won’t show you my pile of stuff that I have to cull, but I will show you an essential (recommended by my professor):

Peter keeps hinting that he’s going to let our dogs do anything they want while I’m gone. So, I imagine that there will be a lot of this happening:

(Yes, Maddie is IN the dishwasher.)

I guess I know who will be the taskmaster when we have kids.

Have a great evening, everyone!

Q: Do you have a favorite childhood food that brings back memories?


  1. I literally burst out laughing at the picture of Maddie in the dishwasher!

    The first time I had dan tat was in Toronto. I bought egg tarts from a bakery in Chinatown when I was living there. Yours look even better. Much more rustic 😉

  2. Your little Dan Tat pastries are super cute (though not QUITE as cute as Maddie in the dishwasher haha)!! But…at the risk of sounding slightly ignorant…I just have to ask, what exactly do they taste like? Are they super eggy?

    For me, the food that brings back lots of childhood memories is my Grandma’s rice pudding. She’d have a fresh batch of homemade pudding ready for us every time we visit, and so now I always associate it with her…and family. 🙂

  3. I’ve never heard of Dan Tat but they look delishhh! One food that brings back my childhood is chicken pot pie. My favorite part was the soggy crust lol

    Maddie is too cute!

  4. Holy cow those look delicious! I’ve never heard of them or had them!

    I have so many foods that bring back memories. Mostly Italian dishes, and espeically around the holiday with certain baked goods Grandma’s cookies and recipes, etc.

    Yayyy for China travels! And too funny about the dog in the dishwasher!

  5. First thing’s first – I literally just LAUGHED OUT LOUD when I saw the picture of Maddie in the dishwasher. Uh, let it be known that I am also brushing my teeth (as I type this, yes). Needless to say, little laptop needs screen-cleaning.

    Now. DAN TAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 CAN I BOLD THIS THING?!?! DAN TATTTTTTTTTTTTT DAAAAAANNN TAAAAAAT. (Because saying it twice means you actually bolded it.) Seriously. Maybe I’m just super-excited because LeQuan and I were talking about it recently, or maybe because I too have a special place in my heart for the little buggers…either way – <3 DAN TAT (in bold). Now – while I'm impressed that you made your own flake pastry (it would have been Tenderflake all the way for me), I do think that you were a little too stingy on the custard filling. That is my only criticism. They look sad! Fill 'er up Jessie! 🙂

    Favourite memory-inducing childhood food: too many. Too many to name. But other than dan tat… char siu bao(BBQ pork buns). Um and those triangular white sweet rice cake things. And a strange love-hate relationship with Ruffles Bacon and Sourcream chips. OK fine so that was more than one. Whatevs!

    😀 Aletheia


    1. Oh hold on a sec. I’m so silly. You said you used to VISIT Toronto. Gotcha. 😉

  6. My Mom used to make peach cobbler with those giant white peaches. It was wonderful. Instead of pie crust, she used a cake type crust that raised up through the peaches. YUM! Ask your Dad, he’ll remember…also ask him if he remembers peas and noodles.

  7. How is it that I am originally from Toronto but I have never heard of Dan Tat? Your version looks pretty awesome Jessie.

    May I suggest a couple of other essentials for your trip? Some Cipro and a “Z” Pack (Xythromax). I never take medicine (not even Tylenol) but when traveling it’s better to be safe than sorry.

  8. Never heard of or had Dan Tat but they kind of look like little lemon tarts. Yes mirror means no more iphone haircutting 🙂

  9. Mmmmm I love egg custard tarts and yours look great! Did you know that these originated in Portugal and got to China by way of Macau?

  10. Maddie = soon to be bloated (like a tick)

  11. I love cocoa crispies because they remind me of being a kid. We we NEVER allowed them but when we went to see my Grandma in England she would always buy some as a treat :).

  12. These look great!
    Your pup is so cute 😀 My cat is always interested in kitchen, while I’m cooking. He always tries to see what’s in the oven or on the counter :))

  13. I totally second, third, and fourth what Aletheia said! DDDDDDAAAAANNNNN TTTTAAAATTTT! You so rock for making DAN TAT! ok now everytime we mention DAN TAT it must be in capitals lol 😀 Seriously, if this is to get me back for my lobster, you so got me 😉 Might as well hang a bucket under my chin for the drool. I never knew DAN TAT was so easy to make. I’ve so gotta try this now. Thank you for sharing this recipe Jessie!

    Hahaha! How cute are your dogs!? That dishwasher picture is priceless. You totally need to show more pics of your cuties. I was gonna steal your idea and have people write a caption for the picture of my kiddies and those lobsters but then I got sidetracked (probably chasing my half naked son around trying to put on his diaper that he took off himself….sigh) and forgot. You need to have one of those pics soon. Luv the idea!

    Oh and totally pack whatever pills you think you may need for China. Better safe than sorry.


  15. Those look great. I think we have some pastry looking things on the island that are similar.

  16. Those dan tans look wonderful…the pastry portion looks perfect and flaky! 🙂 That picture of Maddie IN the dishwasher CRACKED ME UP! My co-worker came over to ask what I was laughing at 🙂 She laughed, too, when I showed her 🙂

  17. How cute is Maddie in the dishwasher! That is too funny!
    The dan tat looks amazing! yum! I probably wouldn’t be able to stop at one either.

  18. Yup…definitely thought that Dan Tat was a guy 😛 Those little pastries/tarts look SO GOOD!! I’m a huge fan of flaky, custardy desserts.

    The food that brings me back to my childhood is my mom’s potato soup. It was pretty much my favorite meal growing up, but she rarely makes it now. So when she *does* make it, I get so excited!

    Another childhood favorite (that I still eat quite often :)) is vanilla soft serve ice cream with rainbow sprinkles!

  19. I’ve never heard of these! They look so adorable and tasty though. Yummmm!!

    My mom’s homemade veggie beef soup brings back awesome childhood memories, soooooo comforting!! Especially with some saltines or ritz crackers crumbled on top! 😉

    Hehe, love the dishwasher pic!!!!! Too funny!! 😉 Silly doggies!! 🙂

  20. I had never heard of dan tats but they look delicious! Your dan tats look like flowers when photographed from the top! 🙂

    Maddie in the dishwasher: amazingly cute and funny!

    Going to China sounds fantastic!! I’m sure you’ll have a great time!!!

    My favourite food memory while growing up was a sweet called loukoumas (not to be confused with a Turkish delight, or lukum). It’s practically flour dumplings, deep fried and served with clear honey (and ground walnuts and cinnamon as an option which bizzarely I never liked, though everyone else in Greece does). Because of the amount of oil needed for the deep-frying and the fact that frying meant they were a little heavy on the stomach, it was a rare treat when my mum made them, and that’s probably why I still love them! And they’re even better with whole wheat flour than the white flour my mum used most of the time.

  21. Wow, that is some gorgeous, flaky pastry! Dan tat looks amazing!

    You must be so excited about going to China!

    That pic of Maddie in the dishwasher is adorable.

  22. haha, Imodium!! That’s funny. I think your professor is right about that one.
    I have a fond memory of my grandmother’s lasagna. She made it better than anyone in the world, and the smell of her lasagna was intoxicating, in a very good way. I can still smell it!!

    These little pastries look so delicious, and yes, very pretty 🙂

  23. That dishwasher picture is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen 🙂 Hmmm, childhood foods…I remember eating bread and butter and cabbage rolls…we ate a lot of carbohydrates in chilly old Russia 🙂

    I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a dan tat before! It looks pretty tasty though, and a bit more exciting than the oatmeal cookies I’m planning to bake tonite. Mmmm, pastries 🙂

  24. Oh I love tarts. I’ve never heard of dan tat but we often go to our local asian markets so I’m going to keep an eye out for them.

    Love how easy and flaky your pastry is. I’m always a little scared of making my own and tend to buy the puffed type.

    Maddie is seriously cute btw!

  25. Wonderful pastry. Have a happy & safe trip. Sounds amazing.

    Love the photos of your cute furry friends. I can totally relate to not being able to open the dishwasher without one jumping in.


  26. I am from Toronto. I have lived here my whole life (aside from my undergrad in Halifax). But I have never, not even once, heard of Dan Tat. It looks pretty darn good though! I am not Asian and I haven’t spent a lot of time in Chinatown (I go once in a while) so maybe thats why I have never heard of this delicacy? It seems that I’ve been missing out.
    Are you getting excited for your trip to China?? I’m excited FOR you.
    That picture of Maddie in the dishwasher is so adorable.
    I don’t really have a favourite childhood food. I was such a picky eater as a child, and I ate the same thing every day for the most part. I don’t have many memories surrounding food…hmm now that I think of it, maybe just cookie dough. I did kind of love cookie dough, straight off the mixing spoon. We always used two spoons so that I could have one and my sister could have the other. Have a great night Jessie

  27. Hey Jessie – honestly I’m not crazy about egg tarts because I find them generally too eggy, but I do like your take on them – less eggs, the splash of vanilla and the custard looks sooooo light and trembly LOL If I did eat an egg tart – they’d be more like yours then the ones I can get in stores over here!

    Btw – your tarts are adorable beyond words and remind me more of Portuguese Pasteis de Nata than the Chinese Egg Tarts you normally encounter in Chinese pastry shops or dim sum joints.

    You know, Maddie looks really comfortable in the dishwasher. Wonder if she’s been through a cycle before…… 😉

    Anyway – the one thing that brings my childhood crashing back like a tidal wave is really bright pink coconut candy LOL


  28. Oh, my Taiwanese friends all love this to death. But I think the HK-style is the famous ones? I can’t say I really like these, but I’ve made these for my friends before, and I do love the smell of that eggy custard!

    My favorite childhood snack…would probably be carrot cake, or laksa! I cannot wait to be in Singapore eating those stuff!

  29. I have NO Asian-ness in my blood (isn’t that sad?) and yet a serious love for dan-tat. That egg custard is just so good and yours look adorable!

    Maddie is so cute. Ironically, my dog likes to climb in the dishwasher as well. Crazy.

  30. look at your dan tat!!!! (i had no idea that was how it would be spelled in english)

    when i was a kid i just ate the custard part.

  31. Love ‘dan tat”. But I kinda “cheated’ when I made them the last time – I used store-bought puff pastry.

  32. Those look good, but flan on the other hand yuck! I wonder if they taste similar at all? My favorite childhood food was definitely my grandma’s sugar cookies (she’s still alive but I haven’t eaten one in forever and I don’t know if she still makes them) and my uncle’s honey cookies…oh so good!

  33. Uff…ur dan tat look bad…and i mean bad…that pastry looks like it’s seriously wrong! They certainly don’t look appetising at all…ufff!

    1. Thanks for your input! 🙂

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