Thursday, May 26, 2016

Copycat Hanjuku Kobo / Bake Molten Lava Cheese Tart

Me a copycat?

Yeah. Sort of... Sorry that I don't mean to pinch the idea of baking molten lava cheese tarts that are like those selling at Bake at Sapporo, Hokkaido and Hanjuku Kobo 半熟工房 at Hong Kong. I baked these all because I really miss the alluring creamy taste and the luscious flowy lava cheese filling encased in a firm biscuit-y like of butter pastry. Just the memorable thought of how I enjoyed these cheese tarts at Hong Kong will make my mouth starts watering again... Aiyo! So embarrassing!!!

For the fact that I can't find any of lava cheese tarts selling in Melbourne, I tell myself that I have to replicate these tarts at home and so I baked it!!!

Look!!! These are my molten lave cheese tarts... I can't say that they are 100% replica of Hanjuku Kobo or Bake molten lava cheese tart as I have not managed to decode the ultimate mystery of baking the cheese filling with an uniform deep golden crust without the burning the top rim of the pastry. I suspect that these specialised bakeries have a size-customized top grill to do this job perfectly whereas all I have is just an ordinary blow torch to create this sort of brûlée look on my tarts. Hmmm...

So to conclude... Look-wise, I would say that my cheese tarts are 75% like the HK's. Taste-wise, I reckon they are 95% similar. Enjoyment-wise... Hmmm... 99.9%!!! Not 100%? Aiya... I was trying to be humble lah. keke!

Hanjuku Kobo Bake molten lava cheese tart
Copycat Hanjuku Kobo / Bake Molten Lava Cheese Tart

When I first had this thought of baking these tarts at home, I'm pretty sure that there will be a copycat recipe somewhere and I'm totally right! At here and here, I see that Meg from DreamersLoft had put in massive amount of effort to replicate these yummy cheese tarts and I must say that she did a great job. However, I noticed that the fillings of her tarts are also not so deeply and uniformly browned like the ones that we bought from the original shops. Told ya... I'm absolutely sure that the bakeries have a special grill or oven to do this finishing grilling step and we don't!!!

For me, there won't be any eeny, meeny, miny, moe as I'm aware of what I'm after... So instead of trying many recipes that Meg had created with cream cheese, mascarpone cheese with or without Parmesan or cheddar cheese - Oh man! So many!!!, I have decided to modify one of hers further and settle with this one recipe that can make the cheese filling to be just milky with a good balance of cheesy taste and ultimately smooth in its flowy texture. To do so, I'm not using any other cheeses... but fully loaded my tart filling with only cream cheese.

Then how about the pastry? I want to bake something that is unshrinkable, biscuit-y and firm and like to take my reference to the amazing unshrinkable pastry that I have baked at here. I can see that this unshrinkable pastry recipe is quite similar to the pastry that Meg used at here and so I have created a fusion pastry incorporating both Meg's and the unshrinkable pastry recipe

To make the pastry:
Wrap dough in cling wrap and place it in a fridge to chill for 1 hr.
Roll dough to 5mm thick and cut into 8cm rounds.
Line tart mould with the cut pastry and freeze it for at least 1 hr.
Straight from the freezer into the preheated oven ...
See... Absolutely NO shrinking!!! Yay!
Remove pastry from the mould and allow them to cool on a wire rack completely. 

To cook the filling...

First, I did this by using a double boiler.
Then, I whisked in this cornflour mixture.
Plus an egg mixture with these ingredients.
More cook cook cook and whisk whisk whisk...
It is important to cook and whisk this mixture with a low heat setting and do not over-cook the mixture as you want your filling to be flowy eventually.
The mixture will thicken further when it is cooled to room temperature.
And you will get this nice and glossy consistency.
Fill pastry cases with cream cheese filling.
Brush filling with egg wash and bake with very high temperature until the top of the filling has set.
Notice that the tarts are not forming an uniform deep golden colour?
Tried making these pandan cheese tart by mixing pandan paste into the filling but got this horrifying colour!!!
Aiyo! My husband and son were not impressed!!! LOL!
"So fake!" My son said but I think taste wise it is sort of interesting and ok.
If I'm making the pandan cheese tarts again, I will skip the last baking step to avoid them from having the ugly yellowish crust! :p
What to do if the tarts are not browned enough?
I browned them with my blow torch for a finishing brûlée look :p
Hanjuku Kobo Bake molten lava cheese tart
Look-wise, I would say that my cheese tarts are 75% like the HK's? Console myself lah :p
Hanjuku Kobo Bake molten lava cheese tart
Taste-wise, I would say... maybe 95% similar.
Hanjuku Kobo Bake molten lava cheese tart
Enjoyment-wise... 100%? These tarts are so ultimate! So heavenly!
Just like how we enjoyed our tarts at Hong Kong :)

"Mum, I love these tarts!!! They are so yummy!!!" said my son and he kept saying this same thing whenever he was eating these tarts. He also said that the ones with the most deep golden brown surfaces are actually the most delicious.

I hear you, sweetie. I hear you :)

Here's my recipe that is very modified from DreamersLoft

Makes about 9 tarts that are 6 cm at their top and 4 cm at their base

For the pastry:
100g all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
30g caster sugar (I prefer not to use icing sugar as I'm after a biscuity gritty taste)
50g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 egg yolk, 15g

For the filling:
25g icing sugar
6g corn flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp milk

40g egg, lightly beaten - please use exact weight
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

150g cream cheese
25g unsalted butter
80ml (1/3 cup) milk

Egg yolk wash for brushing:
1 egg yolk plus 1 tbsp milk, lightly beaten to combine

To make the pastry:
Combine flour, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add cold butter and use your finger tips to rub butter into the flour mixture, until it resembles coarse bread crumbs.

Add egg yolk and mix until mixture form a dough. Wrap the dough in clingwrap and place it in a fridge for about 1 hr before rolling.

Using a rolling pin, roll pastry on a lightly floured non-stick surface to about 5 mm thickness. Do not roll your pastry too thin! Thin pastry will burn easily! Use a 8cm fluted cutter to cut the dough into pastry rounds. Transfer the cut dough into the tart mould and gently press it to fit. Place them in the freezer to chill for at least 1 hr - this freezing step is essential!

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Arrange the pastry on a baking tray and bake at 200°C for 10 mins or until the pastry are firm and golden but not too dark.

Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool slightly for about 15 mins. Remove pastry from the mould and transfer them onto a wire rack to cool completely. Tip: If your pastry get stuck onto your tart mould, you can use a toothpick to prick the side of the pastry out from the mould.

While waiting for the pastry to freeze, bake or cool, you can prepare the cheese filling.

To make the filling:
For A:
Add icing sugar, cornflour, salt and milk in a small bowl and mix well to combine. Set aside.

For B:
In another bowl, add egg, vanilla extract and lemon juice and use a fork to whisk mixture very lightly until combined. Set aside.

For C:
Combine cream cheese, butter and milk in a heat proof bowl and place the bowl on a large cooking pot filled with simmering water. Place the cooking pot (with the bowl of cream cheese mixture) on a stove with very low heating and use a hand whisk to stir until everything is melted and smooth

Once the mixture has melted, add corn flour mixture (A) into the cream cheese mixture and whisk and cook until mixture is combined.

Whisk egg mixture (B) into the cream cheese mixture. Keep whisking and cook until mixture is just thicken like it won't drip from your whisk. It is important to cook and whisk this mixture with a low heat setting and not to over-cook the mixture as you want your filling to be nice and flowy. Remove from heat and allow custard to cool to room temperature (not chilled!!!). When the filling is cooled, you will see that the filling thickens further with a glossy and luscious consistency.

To assemble:
Change oven setting to fan forced mode and increase oven temperature to 230°C.

Arrange tart pastry on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Spoon enough cheese filing into each pastry but do not overfill it. Brush the top of the filling with adequate egg yolk wash.

Bake the tarts in the middle rack for 6-7 mins or until the filling form a nice firm crust without burning the top rim of the pastry. Hence, it is important to watch the tarts closely.

Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool slightly.

Best to enjoy these tart when they are freshly baked and slightly warm. Heavenly!!!

If you can't consume so many tarts at one go, you can store the pastry in an airtight container at room temperature and the filling in the fridge with its surface totally covered with a cling wrap to prevent a skin forming. Then assemble and bake the tarts whenever they need to be served. Once both pastry and filling have been assembled and baked in a high temperature, they will have to be consumed within the same day of bake or the pastry will turn soft.

Happy Baking
Please support me and like me at Facebook...


  1. Yours look fabulous!!! I only have a toaster oven but really dying to make these. Do you think toaster oven will work?

    1. Hi Jo,

      Nice to hear that you like these tarts but I'm sorry to say it might be a little difficult to use a toaster oven to bake these especially if your toaster is not temperature controlled.


  2. oh yumm..... I love tarts like these with a creamy filling.

  3. Do u think for the filling I can use salted butter and skip the salt for A ?

    1. Hi Phiona,

      Are referring to the pastry, not part A of filling? If you are referring to the pastry, yes you can.


  4. Zoe , the baked tart case on its own looks awesome :D Definitely a must-try , maybe add some matcha powder ?!

  5. Zoe, I do love these tarts, so cute!

  6. Love those colours, Zoe! TGIF, my dear! xoxo

  7. This looks to-die-for, Zoe! Oozing with deliciousness is how I would describe it.

  8. Hi Zoe,
    Thumbs up to you! You always do your research before embarking on your bakes! Me, very lazy, I would go straight to a recipe!
    Maybe the brown top can be obtained by brushing the top of the filling with the egg yolk again, for a second time before the filling is fully cooked, then bake for a minute or two more? Just my thought though, don't know if it works! Haha!

  9. Zoe, I am drooling here ! First time heard of this hanjuku kobo. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Thx for sharing the recipe:) just wonder what brand of cream cheese u have used?

  11. The weight of the egg is with or without the shell? Sorry a bit confused

    1. Hi,

      The weight of the egg is without the shell :)


  12. Can i portion and roll the dough into balls and spread them out in the tart mould rather than rolling it out into 5mm thickness and cutting it out in circles?

    1. Hi Joanne, I prefer not to press the pastry into the tart mould because the hand-pressed pastry will have different thickness and the thinner part at the top rim will burn easily. Cheers.