How to make Boat Tarts: Filipino Pastry Tarts with Caramel & Meringue Topping
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Picture these Boat Tarts – Filipino Pastry Tarts with Caramel and Meringue Topping. Imagine the crisp, buttery, flaky, pastry at the bottom. And a rich, gooey caramel middle filling. Finally, a sweet meringue topping so light and puffy, it’s like biting into a cloud. And what’s amazing is that these three layers are in one adorable little pastry called a “boat tart”.
We’ve had a cookie fest for the past weeks in our home. From baking all-time favorites to new cookie recipes, the oven has been working nonstop with all these cookies. I like to go back to pastry recipes I grew up with and re-introduce them to my sons and their friends. It’s my way of celebrating Christmas the way I remember it.
One of our favorite Filipino pastries are the “boat tarts”. They measure approximately two inches long, and one inch wide. You can buy these baked boat tarts in any pastry shop in the Philippines. Here in America, they are hard to find if you don’t live near Filipino communities like I do. So I make them from scratch.
These are called “boat tarts” because the pastry crust is baked in little tart pans that are shaped like a tiny boat, with tiny, fluted edges. Each boat tart has three layers to it : the pastry crust, the caramel filling and a meringue topping. Baking is done separately for each layer. These are very popular dessert or snack treats in the Philippines. Most times, they are wrapped in colored cellophane and then end up looking like a giant candy.
These boat tarts are given out as gifts during holidays or special occasions. The crust is baked crisp, flaky and tastes butter-like and terrific. Once the pastry tart is baked, a rich caramel filling is poured into it. Bake this again. Then later pour the meringue on top of the cooked caramel filling. Bake it in a slow oven for a couple of minutes, and before you know it, you’ll have a Filipino favorite in your hands.
Boat Tarts: Filipino Pastry Tarts with Caramel and Meringue Topping
- boat-shaped tins for pastry crust - 2-inches in length
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour for pastry crust
- 1/2 + 1/4 cups chilled butter, unsalted
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 whole chilled egg yolk
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons cold water as needed for pastry crust
- 3 whole egg yolks; for caramel filling
- 1 can (14 oz.) condensed milk
- 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 whole egg whites, for topping
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- To make the Pastry Crust:
- Blend flour, salt and butter till they resemble coarse crumbs.
- Add the egg yolk. Incorporate and knead well. Either use pastry blender by hand or a food processor. Add cold water, as needed to bind crust together. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Grease tiny tart molds. On a floured board, roll out the pastry dough.
- Cut out the a rectangle piece of dough, measuring 3 inches x 1 inch and place it on top of the boat-shaped tart mold (use small round tart molds if that’s more convenient).
- Place all the little tart shells on a large flat baking sheet. Bake pastry shell tarts in the oven at 350 F for 15 minutes. Take out of the oven and set aside while preparing the caramel filling.
- To make the Caramel Filling:
- Blend the above ingredients in a small bowl.
- Pour the caramel filling into the baked pastry tarts. Fill pastry tarts about 2/3 full.
- Bake at 350 F degrees for 15 minutes. When done, take out of the oven and set aside.
- Prepare the meringue topping.
- To make the Meringue Topping:
- Make sure the egg whites are at room temperature. Add the cream of tartar and salt to the egg whites.
- At high speed, beat the egg whites in a mixer, till stiff peaks form.
- Slowly add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time.
- Place egg whites/ meringue in a plastic disposable pastry bag. Cut off the tip and press the plastic pastry bag to drizzle some egg white on the top of each caramel-filled tart.
- Return the caramel-meringue tarts to the oven. Bake at 250 F slow oven for 40 minutes or till meringue topping is stiff and cooked.
- Take out of the oven and cool on racks. When done, carefully remove whole tart and serve. Or wrap the tarts in colored cellophane individually, once they have cooled.
- Cook's Comments : I bake these using the "boat tart molds" my sister sent me from the Philippines. These Filipino-made tiny tart pans might not be readily sold here in America. As an alternative, you can use 1 to 2-inch in diameter, round, non-stick tart pans, which are available in department stores, specialty shops or online sources for kitchen utensils. Simply follow the same recipe procedure above.
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Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided in the recipe links is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
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What a sweet, pretty treat! I love the boat shapes and the caramel with meringue sound amazing!!!
Thanks, Karen! These boat tarts are a favorite! Glad you stopped by.
I loooooove boat tarts, especially the cashew-filled ones. It’s hard to resist buying them when I spot them at bakeries and store shelves. Yet another reason why I can no longer fit into any of my jeans… 8-P
Your recipe sounds looks delicious!
Thanks,Tracey. These were a delight to make! You should make a cashew version. I omitted them due to nut allergies here.
Gosh! Our tart molds have been sitting in my cupboard for centuries. Now this gives me quite an interest in using them…Your recipe seems good…Now I can’t wait to try them…
Thanks, Joy! Yes, pls go use your tart molds. Was just talking to a fellow Pinay from Canada, who wishes she had boat tarts! Where can you buy them in Manila now? BTW, glad you stopped by.
These are lovely! I love hearing of your baking traditions. My husband would love the cashew boat tarts 😉
Thanks, Paula. I love baking these for my family. Glad you stopped by.
this looks like something i definitely want to try!! YUM!!
Thanks, Sandy! These boat tarts are really amazing. Nice of you to stop by!
Hello, i wish i could find the oval cutter you’ve got, i have the tart mold, and the cutter could facititate my preparation of the tart shell for the mold. May i know where you can find those cutter please! I would love to try your recipe! Thanks for sharing!
Hi RIF! Thanks for visiting my site. The boat tarts molds & oval cutter were sent to me by my sister from Manila, Philippines. Where are you based? If you know anyone in Manila, I recently saw the same oval cutter & molds at some of the larger SM Dept.Stores (kitchen section). If not, a regular cookie cutter might work, too. Good luck!
Been looking all over the Internet for a website that sells these pans and I can’t find them, not even an import site
Hi Patrick. Thanks for the comments. I share your frustration because I called my sister in the Philippines to send me some boat tarts molds via another relative who was travelling to the USA. And when I went home to Manila this year, I personally bought a ton of boat tart molds or “bangka-bangka” as we call it and even brought some for my sis-in-law as ‘pasalubong’. You can ask relatives back home to send you some like I did. But if you can’t wait, and can settle for round molds instead, head over to ‘Bed Bath & Beyond’ where I bought small non-stick tart molds measuring 1-inch in diameter and they worked pretty well. Good luck in your search!
hi. can you please advise the quantity of butter in grams. here in australia, we have 1 bar which is equivalent to 250 gms. i know in the u.s you can buy them in sticks. thanks so much (planning to give this as christmas gifts instead of buying gifts)
Hi Ria. The butter indicated in this recipe is 1 stick (4 oz or about 113.5 gm) plus 1/4 of the stick (about 4 to 5 tablespoons). Hope that helps. I suggest you use non-stick little tart pans. The non-stick ones are easier to bake with. Good luck and let me know how it turns out.
Hi! How long would I have to bake it if I were to omit the merengue? Thanks!
Hi Joy! You bake the pastry shell for 15 minutes. Then you bake the caramel filling for 15 minutes. Hope that helps.
hello tita are you from the phlillipines?? Pilipino rin po kasi ako eh/…
Hi Brian, yes I’m from the Philippines but have been based in the USA for a long time now. How can I help?
Hi, how many tarts can one recipe usually make? These look so good, I’d like to try making them.
Where can I buy boat tarts at philippnes
Hi Anna! I bought the boat tarts from SM Makati, the housewares department. It was a long time ago before the SM stores were giant malls. Best of luck finding them. You can also use round non-stick tart pans which are very tiny — these are easy to find.
Hi, could you tell me how long you think these will be good for? Got some from christmas, and forgot to eat them! They
Were stored in our kitchen pantry. For 2.5 weeks. Do you think it’s still safe to eat? Thanks!
If they were refrigerated they will be good for about a week. If it’s not refrigerated, good for 2 to 3 days. I’m speaking from an American kitchen on the east coast where the winter temperature this time of year is anywhere from freezing point to high 40 F. If you are in a warmer climate, then they don’t keep too long without refrigeration.
Hi Elizabeth! I made boat tarts before and it’s really good but I do my caramel in a different way. I cook it like yema fill it in a party tart, top it with nuts and bake for few mins enough for the caramel to set. I am just curious if you tried this procedure before. If so pls share your thoughts. Anyways, I’ll be trying your recipe now. It’s quite interesting.
Thanks, Jo. That’s a great suggestion. I will try it, too.
Thank u so much for this recipe! I love boat tarts! The bakery where I used to buy these seemed to have changed their recipe and now use only the smallest amount of caramel. Now I can bake these myself! I’d just like to clarify the amount of butter, 1 stick is 8 tbsp I think. Should I use 1stick and 1tbsp or just 5 tbsp?
Thanks, LJ. Enjoy 🙂
hi how many tart would i make with this recipe? thank yoう
Sorry this ingredient does not make sense to me: “1 and ¼ stick butter (about 5 Tablespoons), cold.”
1 stick of butter is about 8 tablespoons. So 1 and 1/4 sticks of butter would be 10 Tablespoons, no?
Hi, Rik. Thanks for catching that. In America, butter and margarine are sold in sticks which measure 1/2 cup each. I’ve corrected and updated the ingredients and procedure. I specified 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup butter in the list of ingredients. Enjoy baking 🙂
Thanks so much for clarifying this!
Do you have a Mango tartlet recipe ?? im looking for like the one that look like panuelo but folded or the shape of a Kolache. I hope im explaining myself correctly.
Where can you find the cellophane in the US?
Is it the same as what you see in crafts stores?
Hi May, I find them in arts and crafts stores, or in the gift-wrappers section of stores. You can also find them online on Amazon or other candy wrapper suppliers.
Where did you find the boat tart cutter?
Aileen, these boat tart molds were from the Philippines. My sister bought them and sent them to me here in the States a long, long time ago. Try online Filipino stores if you don’t live in the Philippines.
There might be a typo in the pastry crust incredients: “2 1/ c cups for pastry crust all-purpose flour”
It must be 2 cups a.p. Flour.. not 2 1/….right?
Hi Maria, thanks for catching the typo error. I fixed it. It’s supposed to be 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour.