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Baked Custard with Tapioca | This baked custard is mixed w/ chewy tapioca pearls & filled w/ sweet lotus paste. A classic Hong Kong dessert. Hot, rich, creamy & not too sweet! #dessert #hongkong #tapiocapearl #custard #dessertrecipe #baking #lotuspaste #chestnutspread #redbeanpaste #chineserecipe | The Missing Lokness

Baked Custard with Tapioca

Course Dessert
Cuisine Hong Kong
Keyword baked, baked custard, baked sago pudding, dessert, hong kong dessert, tapioca dessert, tapioca pearl
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Rest Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author Lokness


  • 70 grams tapioca pearls
  • 30 grams custard powder
  • 500 millimeters whole milk (3 1/3 cups)(divided into half)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 80 millimeters evaporated milk (1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon)
  • 70 grams sugar
  • 20 grams unsalted butter
  • 120 grams lotus paste (or chestnut spread or red bean paste)


  • In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium. Add tapioca pearls, cook for 10 minutes, stirring often. Cover with a lid, remove from heat and set aside for 15 minutes. Most of the pearls should be completely transparent. It’s ok if a few have tiny white spots in the middle. Drain the tapioca pearls into a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under cold water until cool, stirring occasionally. Set aside to drain.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400˚F. In a kettle over high heat, boil a few cups water.
  • When the pearls are ready, let’s make the custard. In a medium mixing bowl, add custard powder. Slowly whisk in half of the milk. Whisk in the eggs until combined.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the rest of the milk, evaporate milk, sugar and butter. Bring mixture just to a simmer, about 3 minutes, stirring often until sugar has dissolved. While whisking, slowly add in the custard. Cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, mix in the tapioca pearls. The mixture would thicken more as it cools.
  • Prepare 6 (1-cup) ramekins. Fill each ramekin halfway full with tapioca mixture. Add 20 grams (1 tablespoon) lotus paste into each ramekin. Divide the rest of tapioca mixture into the ramekins. Slightly smooth the top.
  • Place the ramekins in a 9x13 baking pan. Slowly add hot water to baking pan until the water come about halfway up sides of ramekins. Carefully transfer to oven and bake for 20 minutes. Then, broil under broiler until the top is puffed with caramelized brown spots, about 3 – 5 minutes (If no broiler, turn the oven heat to 525˚F, and bake for about 5 minsutes). Remove from oven and remove from baking pan.
  • Set aside to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.


  1. Tapioca pearls are NOT boba. They are white in color and much smaller, slightly bigger than sesame seeds. They can be found in Asian supermarkets or on Amazon.
  2. Custard powder is a common UK ingredient. It’s vanilla flavored and it’s used to make a quick custard. Since Hong Kong was once under British governing, custard powder is also commonly used in restaurants in Hong Kong. You can get this on Amazon or some British grocery stores.
  3. Lotus paste can be bought from some Chinese supermarkets. It’s little sweet and nutty with a hint of savoriness. Lotus paste is a bit thick. It looks more like a piece of dough, instead of spreadable paste. When placing the paste into the custard, you can pat the paste into a thin round disc. That way, the custard can get a more even filling.
  4. I also tried this recipe with chestnut spread. I bought a can from Amazon. It’s sweetened and usually used in dessert. It’s definitely sweeter than lotus paste. If you’re using this, use a bit less, like 15 grams for each ramekin. 
  5. Red bean paste can also be used in here. You can make your own or buy store-bought version. It’s also sweetened and use a bit less as well.
  6. The custard is best to serve within an hour. But if you’re doing lotus version, you can cool them in the fridge without covering for 5 hours most. Reheat in microwave for 40 seconds or so. But if you’re making chestnut or red bean version, they don’t last more than 1 hour.
(Adapted from Mrs P’s Kitchen)