It was time for another foodcentric book club meeting.  The assigned book was Sharks Fin and Sichuan Pepper by Fuchsia Dunlop.  For some reason, I could not get into the book.  I tried to read it on the plane; I tried to read it in bed, on the couch, and even outside.  I got uncontrollable cravings for delicious, spicy, flavorful Sichuan cuisine, but couldn’t be forced to turn the page.

The thought of skipping the book club never did enter my mind.  After all, one of the components of the club is the potluck where each attendee cooks or brings a dish inspired by the book.

What to bring?  I knew the hostess-with-the-mostest, Naomi of Gastrognomewould be making the Dan Dan Noodles, and there was some talk of grilled lamb skewers with cumin and stir-fried eggplant.  I thought something sweet would round up the meal nicely.  Unfortunately, the book itself did not have a dessert recipe, so I turned to the world of on-line research.  Googling “Sichuan dessert recipes” led me to the Rasa Malaysia site and a simple recipe for Portuguese Egg Tarts.  

Portuguese and/or Chinese Egg Tarts
(makes 12 tarts; recipe adapted from Rasa Malaysia)

Crust Ingredients

11 ounce box Betty Crocker Pie Crust Mix 
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted butter
1/3 cup cold water
1 tablespoon sugar

Filling Ingredients
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup of sugar
2/3 cups half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Toasted sesame seeds
1.  Preheat oven to 400.  Spray a muffin tin with oil spray.  In a bowl, combine pie crust mix, water, butter, and sugar.  Roll the dough into a log on a floured surface, about 14 inches long.

2.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the filling ingredients.

3.  Cut the dough log into 12 equal pieces.  Place each piece on the bottom of the muffin tin and form a shell by gently pressing the dough into the bottom and the sides.  Use a fork to make holes on the bottom of each crust.  Bake the crust in the preheated oven for 5 minutes.
4.  Remove the pre-baked crust from the oven and fill with the egg custard.  You might have a little bit of the custard left over, depending on how high you make your crust.

5.  Place the tarts back in the oven and bake for additional 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the custard is set.  Remove the tarts from the oven and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.  Cool the tarts on a rack.

You are ready to eat now.  I couldn’t resist and ate one of the tarts while it was still warm.  The rest of the eleven tarts made it to the book club.
I was trying to figure out how to transport these golden sweets and came up with the idea of an egg carton – ha!

 Have a sweet day!

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