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Hokkaido Cheese Tarts

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Homemade Hokkaido cheese tarts – shortcrust pastry shells filled with an incredible cheese filling. A very popular and addictive Asian dessert.

overhead shot of many hokkaido baked cheese tarts on a black board

What are Hokkaido Tarts?

The Hokkaido cheese tarts are mini shortcrust tart shells filled with a delicious, fluffy, sweet yet slightly savory cheese filling.

They originate in a bakery in Sapporo, the capital of the Hokkaido region in the North of Japan. The region is well-known for its milk and dairy farms, producing over 50% of Japan’s milk and about 90% of its natural cheeses.

The first Hokkaido Baked Cheese Tarts stores were opened in Malaysia not a long time ago, only in 2016. The mini-pies quickly became hugely popular and now there are stores selling them all over the world.

And if you would like more Japanese food, you could try Okonomiyaki or Tonkatsu Sandwiches.

girl's hand holding a hokkaido cheese tart

What do you need?

Pastry: all-purpose flour, icing sugar, salt, butter, one egg yolk and cold water – typical pastry ingredients.

Filling: mascarpone, cream cheese, yogurt, milk, unsalted butter, salt and vanilla extract, icing sugar, cornstarch and one egg – nothing fancy either.

Egg brush: egg yolk and a little milk.

ingredients for making the filling for cheese tarts

How to make Hokkaido cheese tarts?

Make the pastry

  • Place flour, icing sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse shortly to combine.
  • Add the very cold, cubed butter and pulse a couple of times to combine. Add egg yolk and cold water and pulse a few times more to combine. Don’t overmix, you should still be able to see very small pieces of butter in the pastry. This ensures that the pastry will be flaky. (1)
  • Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for one hour. Or you can make the pastry up to 3 days in advance and keep it refrigerated. (2)
  • The pastry also freezes well.
collage of two pictures showing shortcrust pastry

Make the cheese filling:

  • To make the bain-marie, I place the bowl with the ingredients on top of a pot with water. The water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. (1)
  • Place mascarpone, cream cheese, yogurt, milk, and salt in the bowl used for the bain-marie. Slowly heat the mixture on bain-marie stirring almost constantly until everything is combined. (2)
  • Sift the icing sugar and the cornstarch over the mixture, add the vanilla extract and the egg and whisk continuously until the mixture thickens. The mixture is thick enough when you can see the traces left by the whisk in the mixture. (3)
  • Remove from the heat and pour the filling into a large bowl. (4)
  • Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the mixture, it will prevent it from forming unpleasant skin. (5)
  • Let cool completely. (6)
collage of six pictures showing how to make sweet cheese filling

What baking pans to use?

  • The pastry will be enough for 12 mini-tart pans of about 10 cm/ 4 inches, I use some with removable bottom, they are just amazing.
  • The only problem is that I only have a set of six, definitely need to get another one.
  • So, I had six pies of the above-mentioned size, eight Hokkaido cheese tarts baked in silicone muffin molds of about 7 cm/ 3 inches diameter, and one larger one baked in a 12 cm/ 4.7 inches silicone pie mold. I loved the way they looked on the serving platter, the different sizes made them particularly appealing.
  • You can definitely bake the tarts in a regular muffin pan, which you should grease well before adding the rolled pastry.
overhead shot of japanese tarts sprinkled with icing sugar

How to roll and bake the pastry?

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit before you start working with the dough.
  • Divide the dough into 12 pieces and form little balls.
  • Roll each ball on a lightly floured surface into circles that are slightly larger than the tart pan you are using. (1)
  • Carefully press the dough circles down into the tart pans so that it lines its bottom and sides, then cut out the excess.
  • Poke the bottom with a fork. (2)
  • Place the tart forms on a baking tray.
  • Bake for about 10 minutes or until the pastry is lightly golden. Leave to cool slightly in the pans.
collage of two picture of rolling and placing dough in mini pie pans

Fill and bake again

  • Increase the oven temperature to 230 degrees Celsius/ 445 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Fill each pastry shell with the filling.
  • Whisk the egg yolk and the milk in a small bowl and brush the filling with the mixture.
collage of two pictures showing many mini pies being filled with cheese filling
  • Place the tray with the tarts in the hot oven and bake for another 5-8 minutes until the filling turns very golden with a few darker spots here and there.
  • If the darker spots don’t appear in the oven, you can turn on the grill shortly. Keep an eye on them all the time, they should not burn. The spots are not mandatory, perfectly golden pies are great as well.
  • Remove the tray from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.
breaking a mini cheese pie with a fork

How to serve?

You can serve the Hokkaido cheese tarts either warm or at room temperature. Once completely cool, store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

japanese dessert with shortcrust pastry and sweet filling seen from above

More mini-tarts and pies:

overhead shot of japanese tarts sprinkled with icing sugar

Hokkaido Cheese Tarts

Homemade Hokkaido cheese tarts – shortcrust pastry shells filled with an incredible cheese filling. A very popular and addictive Asian dessert.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Pies and Cheesecakes
Cuisine: Japanese
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 18 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 360kcal
Author: Adina

Ingredients 

  • Pastry Note 1:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup icing sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter cold
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • Filling:
  • 3/4 cup mascarpone
  • 3/4 cup cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup yogurt
  • 2/3 cup full-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • To brush:
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Instructions

Pastry:

  • Combine: Place flour, icing sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse shortly to combine. Add the very cold, cubed butter and pulse a couple of times to combine. Add egg yolk and cold water and pulse a few times more to combine. Don't overmix; you should still be able to see tiny pieces of butter in the pastry.
  • Refrigerate: Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for one hour or longer.

Cheese filling:

  • Stir: Place mascarpone, cream cheese, yogurt, milk, and salt in a bowl. Slowly heat the mixture on bain-marie, stirring almost constantly until everything is combined (Note 2).
  • Thicken: Sift the icing sugar and the cornstarch over the mixture, add the vanilla extract and the egg and whisk continuously until the mixture thickens and is very smooth. The mixture is thick enough when you can see the traces left by the whisk in the mixture.
  • Cool: Remove from the heat and pour the filling into a large bowl. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the mixture and let cool.

Shells:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You will need 12 mini-tart pans of about 10 cm/ 4 inches; some with removable bottoms are great.
  • Roll: Divide the dough into 12 pieces and form little balls. Roll each ball on a lightly floured surface into circles slightly larger than the tart pans.
  • Line: Carefully press each dough circle down into the tart pan to line its bottom and sides, then cut out the excess. Poke the bottom with a fork. Place the tart forms on a baking tray.
  • Bake for about 10 minutes or until the pastry is lightly golden. Leave to cool slightly in the pans.

Fill:

  • Increase the oven temperature to 230 degrees Celsius/ 445 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Fill each pastry shell with the filling. Whisk the egg yolk and the milk in a small bowl and brush each Hokkaido cheese tart with the mixture.
  • Bake: Place the tray with the tarts in the hot oven and bake for another 5-8 minutes until the filling turns very golden with a few darker spots here and there.
  • Cool: Remove the tray from the oven and allow the cheese tarts to cool slightly before serving.

Notes

  1. Always use a digital kitchen scale in baking; it ensures the best results (Amazon affiliate link).
  2. To make the bain-marie, I place the bowl with the ingredients on a pot with water. The water should not touch the bottom of the bowl.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 360kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 113mg | Sodium: 158mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g
Keyword: asian cheese tarts, baked cheese tart recipe, cheese tart recipe, hokkaido cheese tart recipe, hokkaido pie, japanese cheese tarts
Recipe Rating




mjskitchen

Wednesday 17th of February 2021

A cheese tart? Well, I'm in heaven. These look so light and with such a great looking crust.