A while back I made a trip to the local Farmer’s Market, located at the 200 block of St Paul Street in downtown Kamloops. There I found an affordable and unique ingredient - duck eggs - of which I purchased a half-dozen($3.25) from the Laughing Swan Farm kiosk. I then meandered through the market on my way home and began to formulate a plan to transform them into a sweet treat. After spending a great deal of time casting about the Internet, I decided to make egg tarts. Plucking techniques from this website and that with a few ideas of my own thrown in, I’ve put together this recipe:
Duck Egg Tarts
1 cup water
½ cup white sugar
2-inch knob of ginger root, peeled and diced
3 duck egg yolks
½ cup fresh whole milk or evaporated milk
12 ready-to-use 3-inch tart shells
1. Make ginger syrup by combining water, sugar and ginger root in a saucepan on medium-low heat (stove-top) for 30 minutes. Strain out ginger pieces with a sieve. Let cool to room temperature.
2. In a bowl, whisk together yolks, milk and ginger syrup. Strain through sieve into another bowl and then back again into the first bowl. The goal is to eliminate the bubbles. Let sit at room temperature during the next step.
3. Arrange tart shells on a cookie sheet. Let sit at room temperature while oven is preheating to 200°C (400°F).
4. Ladle egg/syrup mixture into tart shells. Bake on cookie sheet for 10 minutes (middle oven rack). Then, without opening the door, reduce oven temperature to 175°C (350°F) and continue baking for another 10 minutes. Turn oven off and keep tarts inside closed oven for 10 minutes more. Open the door slightly and keep tarts inside oven for 30 minutes. Finally, remove tarts from oven and let cool on countertop until room temperature. Remove from tart shells and dig in! Tarts are delicious served with hot, milky tea.
A few notes:
Oven temperatures are variable. If your egg tarts begin to puff up, open the oven door for a few moments until they settle down. This should prevent the custard from cracking.
Ingredient amounts should be enough for 12 3-inch tart shells. Due to the varying size of duck eggs, you might have slightly more or slightly less filling.
I found the duck egg flavour to be surprisingly delicate, and according to the Laughing Swan Farm vendor, they give the duck eggs quite a cleaning before they’re brought to market.. The shell was slightly thicker than a standard supermarket chicken egg shell - give it a good crack on the countertop when breaking open.
There are a few different ways to separate egg yolks from the white. See which works for you. The recipe should still work if a little more egg whites sneak into your mixture than intended.
Also, save the egg whites for another recipe. Even a simple egg-white omelette will avoid wasting the by-product of your baking endeavour.
Uneaten tarts should be refrigerated. For best results, eat within a day or two.
I encountered a few recipes that called for evaporated milk instead of fresh. This had been my plan, but at the last minute I chose to go with fresh local whole milk. I was very pleased with the results.
The techniques and ingredient ideas that were invaluable to the making of this tart recipe must be acknowledged! Thanks to Wantanmien and Sarah of The Woks of Life. Check out their videos/websites especially if you’d like to make your own tart pastry from scratch.