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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.

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5 from 1 vote

Boat Tarts: Filipino Pastry Tarts with Caramel and Meringue Topping

Boat Tarts are classic Filipino Pastry Tarts with a Caramel Filling and Meringue Topping. These are a favorite treat to be given as gifts during the Christmas holidays, parties or fiestas. They are also sold in bakeries throughout the Philippines. I bake my own batch during the holidays. The homemade goodies are fun to make and a pleasure to give to friends wrapped in colored cellophane and packed in decorative boxes. This is an Asian in America recipe by Elizabeth Ann Quirino. Makes about 18 pieces which are 2-inches in length.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Asian, Filipino
Keyword: Boat Tarts Pastry
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 412kcal
Author: Asian in America - Elizabeth Ann Quirino


  • 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.
  • Hello, Friends! All the images and content on this blog are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to copy, scrape, lift, frame, plagiarize or use my photos and  recipe content I wrote, on your website,books, films, television shows or videos  without my permission. If you want to republish this recipe or content on another website, video, news article,or media outlets mentioned above please ASK my permission, re-write it in your own words and simply link back to this blog to give proper attribution. It’s the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]
  • Disclosure: As a participant in the Amazon Affiliate program, some blog posts contain links to products used in the recipe and sold on Amazon. The price stays the same for the readers who wish to purchase these products on my links. I earn a small commission from Amazon which helps maintain the blog expenses. Thanks in advance for your support.


Serving: 100g | Calories: 412kcal | Carbohydrates: 85g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 264mg | Potassium: 124mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 71IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 4mg

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.

Copyright Notice: Hello, Friends! Please DO NOT LIFT OR PLAGIARIZE Asian in America recipes on this blog,  my original recipes, stories, photos or videos. All the images and content on this blog are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC by Elizabeth Ann Quirino. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to copy, scrape, lift, frame, plagiarize or use my photos, essays, stories and recipe content on your websites, books, films, television shows, videos, without my permission. If you wish to republish this recipe or content on media outlets mentioned above, please ASK MY PERMISSION, or re-write it in your own words and link back to my blog AsianInAmericaMag.com to give proper attribution. It is the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]

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  1. 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!

    1. 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.

  2. 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!

    1. 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!

  3. Been looking all over the Internet for a website that sells these pans and I can’t find them, not even an import site

    1. 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!

  4. 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)

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

  5. 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!

    1. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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?

  8. 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?

    1. 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 🙂

  9. 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.

    1. 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.

  10. 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?

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