Traditional Dan Ta recipes require you to make the dough which is tasty, but adds time. My mom’s adapted recipe is ideal for those who want the taste of homemade Dan Ta, but may not have the time or cooking expertise to create bakery-perfect tarts. I fall into this latter category, and as such was excited to give my mom’s easy and convenient Dan Ta recipe a try.
For the molds, I reused tins I had saved from past purchases of Dan Ta from bakeries. The tins are approximately 2” wide at the base and then they widen to 3” at the top. They’re about a ½”-3/4″ deep. If you don’t have access to these, use something similar like shallow ramekins. The recipe makes 20 tarts if using standard Dan Ta tins. If your molds are slightly larger or smaller than the output may vary accordingly.
For the dough you can use any dough pie crust that you can unroll and cut, like the Pillsbury ones found in the refrigerated section in grocery stores. Don’t get graham cracker pie crusts as those will crumble, plus you need dough for the tart. When cutting the dough, make sure the cup used is wider than the width of the mold so that the dough is covers both the base and sides of the mold. If the dough folds slightly over the top of the mold, that’s fine as you can pinch it around the edge to create a pattern like what you’d see on a pie.
The filling requires you to dissolve sugar in hot (not boiling) water. I simply put a bowl of the measured water in the microwave for one minute which seemed to create the perfect temperature. The mixture needs to cool completely before adding the eggs or else the hot water will cook them. When whisking the eggs, make sure to whisk very well or else your filling may have some white spots appearing instead of the traditional flawless yellow filling. Just bake and eat!
Chinese bakeries keep their Dan Ta at room temperature, but they also probably sell them within a day or two. They’re definitely best eaten right away, but if you have extras that won’t be consumed within the next day or so, then you probably should refrigerate them to be on the safe side. When you’re ready to eat them, the Dan Ta is easy to heat up. I prefer them slightly warm though they’re perfectly fine at room temperature as well. To heat up, I flip the tin upside down to pop out the tart, and then place the Dan Ta in the microwave for 10 seconds.
Here’s the recipe – enjoy!
Mom’s Easy Dan Ta Recipe
2 refrigerated pie crusts such as Pillsbury
½ cup sugar
1/8 cup milk
1 cup water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Dissolve sugar in hot (not boiling) water. Cool mixture completely.
- Whisk eggs well in a separate bowl. Add and mix to cooled mixture.
- Place molds onto a baking sheet.
- Cut dough into round circles using a glass. Place cut dough into mold.
- Fill crust 2/3 full with mixture. Do not overfill.
- Bake 23-25 minutes or until eggs set and dough is done.