{makes 14}

Pastry Dough

1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening, chilled
1/4 cup butter, chilled
1 egg
2 tablespoons ice water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


2/3 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
4 eggs
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
dim sum


  1. Prepare dough: Place flour in a food processor. Cut shortening and butter into 1/2-inch chunks and distribute over flour. Process with on-off bursts until fat particles are the size of peas. Add egg, ice water, and vanilla. Process until mixture just begins to form a ball. (Do not process completely to the ball stage, and don't worry if dough has shorten- ing streaks in it.) Remove dough, shape into a patty 1 inch thick, and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
  2. Prepare filling: In a small pan, heat water and sugar until sugar dissolves; let cool. In a bowl, beat eggs slightly. Whisk in sugar-water syrup, evaporated milk, and vanilla extract, blending until smooth.
  3. Preheat oven to 300oF. On a lightly floured board, roll out pastry to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into fourteen 4-inch circles (reroll scraps and cut again if necessary). Fit circles into 2 1/2-inch tart pans. Lightly press dough into bottoms and sides of pans; trim edges.
  4. Pour filling into pastry-lined pans to within 1/4 inch of top. Place filled pans on a baking sheet; bake in preheated oven until a knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Place pans on rack; let cool for 10 minutes. Remove tarts from pans. Serve warm or at room temperature.