Aang's Egg Custard Tart (vegan)

     reading time: 6 min

»Is that ... egg custard in that tart?!«

– Aang, Avatar: The Last Airbender, season 1, episode 11

Since I am a huge fan of the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender, and since it was Imbolc this month – and since my blog is a wild mix of nerdy recipes, Ayurvedic recipes, and pagan festival recipes – we are making Aang's favourite egg custard tart today, vegan version!

This recipe is suitable for an Imbolc feast, but also for any other occasion such as Mother's Day or Easter or Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, or Chinese New Year :)

If you don't know, the egg custard tart from ATLA is a dessert from the Earth Kingdom, and it's apparently Aang's favourite food – though he claims that the best kind are those from the city Omashu, where the crust was made from lychee nuts and with a smooth and silky custard inside, which I'm afraid I can't compete with.

And technically, no, there is no egg custard in that tart because it's veganized and therefore only uses egg-less pudding instead of custard, but oh well. It's still yummy though!

Appropriate reaction to egg custard tarts. (source)

Since the Earth Kingdom is based on China, it is quite likely that this tart is also based on the Chinese egg tart which in turn derived from the English custard tart and Portuguese pastel de nata (yum!) and consists of a round pastry crust filled with egg custard that is then baked in the oven.

So, following these culinary influences, I based my recipe on the layered Hong Kong style tart crust that is made with a water dough layer and a butter dough layer which combined form a flaky crumbly pastry crust that I then filled with a just-sweet-enough creamy vanilla pudding and baked until lightly caramelised on top.

This "egg custard" tart is
& delicious


Preparation time: 60 mins + 2 hours refrigeration
Main ingredients: flour, non-dairy milk, vegan butter, coconut oil, vanilla pudding powder
difficulty level: easy
makes: one 10-inch tart (8 servings)
suitable for: vegan, lactose-free, wheat-free, yeast-free


For the tart crust:

"butter" dough:
1 cup (160 g) spelt flour (type 630)

1/2 cup (75 g) coconut oil, refrigerated to be solid and scoopable

1/2 cup (50 g) vegan unsalted butter or margarine, cold
1/4 tsp salt

water dough:
1 cup (160 g) spelt flour (type 630)
4 tbsp raw cane sugar or brown sugar
1 tbsp vegan
unsalted butter or margarine, cold
tsp coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp fresh orange zest
–4 tbsp cold water

For the filling:

1 1/2 packages (52 g) vanilla pudding powder
2 cups + 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp (600 ml)
non-dairy milk such as soy milk (don't use oat milk or rice milk!*)
1/2 cup (125 ml) coconut milk
6 tbsp (75 g) raw cane sugar

tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp fresh orange zest

pinch of turmeric (optional, for colour)
pinch of
black salt (kala namak) (optional, for that eggy taste)

granulated or powdered sugar, for dusting
vegan whipped cream
fresh raspberries

* Some plant-based drinks such as many oat milks and rice milks are produced with the help of enzymes called "amylases". Amylases convert starch into several types of sugar, which means that the starch will break down quite quickly – and your pudding will remain liquid. So to achieve a "firm" pudding, it is best to use a soy, nut or coconut milk. I prefer using soy milk as it's the most creamy and rich – and cheap!


For the tart crust:

Prepare the "butter dough" by mixing together flour, solid coconut oil, vegan butter, and salt. I suggest using your clean hands to knead the dough until smooth. Don't worry if the dough feels too flaky or dry at first – after a bit of kneading it should hold together nicely! Form into a flattened disk, wrap in clingfilm or wax paper, and
set aside for 20 minutes. If it's hot where you live, place it in the refrigerator.

Next prepare the "water dough" by adding flour, sugar, vegan butter, coconut milk, vanilla extract, and orange zest to the same mixing bowl you used for the butter dough. Add cold water as needed, about 3 to 4 tbsp. Using your hands, knead everything together until it forms a dough-like paste. This dough will be stringier than the butter dough. Form into a flattened disk, wrap in clingfilm or wax paper, and set aside for 20 minutes. If it's hot where you live, chill it in the fridge.

After 20 minutes, remove both doughs from their wrapping.

Dust your working surface with flour, then place the butter dough on the floured surface. Top with the water dough. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the sandwiched dough layers into a rectangle.

Starting at the short side of the rectangle, fold the dough into thirds. Roll the dough into a rectangular shape again, and fold again in thirds. Repeat at least two more times. Now you should be left with a nicely incorporated smooth, soft dough.

Cover the dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

After 15-20 minutes of chilling, prepare the "egg custard" filling.

For the filling:

In a small bowl, stir together the pudding powder and sugar with a few tablespoons of non-dairy milk until dissolved. Bring the rest of the non-dairy milk to a gentle boil in a medium-sized saucepan, along with the coconut milk.

Once it starts boiling, remove the saucepan from the heat and quickly stir in the pudding powder using a whisk, until there are no more lumps. Add vanilla extract, orange zest, a pinch of turmeric and black salt, and whisk again to combine.

Bring to a brief boil again over medium heat, while constantly stirring. Stir stir stir for about 1 or 2 minutes until the mixture starts to thicken, then remove from heat, cover and set aside.

To assemble:

Preheat oven to 350 °F / 180 °C.

Grease and flour a tart pan or spingform pan, or a bunch of tiny tart pans.

On a floured surface, roll out the chilled dough to about
1/4-inch or 6 mm, or according to fit your pan. I used my trusty 26 cm- or 10-inch springform pan, rolling out the dough big enough to also cover the rim.

Carefully lift the dough from the surface and place into the prepared pan. Press the dough evenly against the bottom and sides, making sure that
the edges are raised to form a rim that will be able to hold the filling (about 4 cm / 1.5 inches high). Do your best to avoid trapping any air under the dough – you can also poke some holes with a fork.

Blind-bake the tart crust in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes, placing a similar-sized blind weight on top to prevent rising.

Remove the tart crust from the oven, and remove blind weight. Pour the "egg custard filling" into the pre-baked tart crust.

Return to the oven and allow to bake for about 20–25 minutes, or until the pudding is solidified and lightly golden on top. Keep your eye on the tart while it's in the oven!

Allow to cool slightly before serving. This tart also taste great cold, so you can pack any leftovers on your sky bison for later!

Once the "egg custard" tart has cooled completely, you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.

- If the "authentic" airbender-way of serving this is too bland for you, whip of some vegan whipping cream and pipe rosettes around the edge of the tart.
Whipped cream and vanilla pudding go together so well!
We actually made this for a friend's 30th birthday so we also added the number 30 made of fresh raspberries on top.
- I can also imagine this tasting great with an addition of wintry spices such as pumpkin pie spice or nutmeg.
- Instead of the "one big tart" look that is featured in ATLA, you can of course go the more traditional route of cutting circles out of the pastry (using a cookie cutter or a measuring cup) and sticking the circles in a bunch of small tart pans or a grease muffin pan. You may have to adjust baking time though.
- If you aren't up to all of the dough kneading and folding, you can also use store-bought puff pastry or an uncooked tart or pie crust instead – although I would definitely suggest making the two-layer Chinese dough.

Looking for more nerdy recipes? Check out some of my fiction-inspired creations:

Legolas' Lembas (vegan)
Mrs. Weasley's Christmas Fudge (vegan)