As I’ve probably mentioned before- I love custard! It’s possibly one of my favourite flavours/ingredient in baking. It is far more versatile than people believe it to be as well. From Creme Anglaise (Egg Custard) to the delicate Creme Patissiere, to your Gran’s thick homemade custard for Sunday dessert. You just can’t beat any of them. This week’s bake is Pasteis De Nata, which translated to small Portuguese Custard Tarts which uses egg custard. They’re little bites of joy which no one can turn down…
Pasteis De Natas were originally made by monks in order to try to get some revenue in when their monasteries were being closed down by the aftermath of the Liberal Revolution of 1820. It said these monks still hold this recipe within their family today and continue to make them. If you’re lucky enough to go Lisbon is the ultimate location to try out the best version of these tarts. Family members who have been always come back raving about how delicious they are. One cafe alone in Lisbon turns out 16,000 a day!! Served warm and fresh it’s one for the food bucket list for me.
The tarts are made with Puff Pastry which as per I didn’t choose to make! The custard is made with a sugar syrup infused with cinnamon combined with milk, flour and egg yolks. The custard it sprinkled with cinnamon at the end too to add to the flavour. The most difficult part of this recipe is forming the pastry cup in which you pour your custard into…I have tried my best to photograph and describe this technique as best as possible.
Despite this, the tarts are full proof because they are so forgiving if they turn out messy. If anything that adds to the authenticity. So don’t worry if some are slightly lopsided or the custard has browned on the top, this is how you would get them in the best cafes in Lisbon as well! I can also vouch that once you try making them the second time you’ll ace it!
The recipe is adapted from Leite’s Culinaria and Good Food.
Recipe: (Makes 24)
- 2 X Standard Ready Made Puff Pastry (2 X 500g)
- 27g Plain Flour
- 300ml Whole Milk
- 260g Granulated Sugar
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 160ml Water
- 1/2 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
- 6 Large Egg Yolks
- Ground Cinnamon to Finish
- Preheat the oven 290 Degrees and lightly grease a muffin tray.
- In a large bowl whisk the flour and 60ml of the milk.
- In a small saucepan bring the sugar, water to the boil with the cinnamon stick. Do not stir this just allow the liquid to start bubbling and sugar dissolved for 4-5 mins. This will make a sugar syrup
- In another saucepan heat up the rest of the milk just before boiling point, then, whisk it in with the flour mix.
- Take the cinnamon stick out the sugar syrup and pour it into the large bowl of milk, stir for a couple of mins until the liquid is warm and no longer boiling hot.
- Whisk in the egg yolks then pour the liquid into a large jug. Don’t worry if its a really thin liquid and not custard as you know it, it will set in the oven! Cling film it and leave to one side
- Roll the pastry, one square at a time into a log shape until it’s about 1 and 1/2 inches thick. Then cut the log into 12 pieces and place each pastry chunk in the middle of a muffin tray place
- Have a bowl of cold water ready to make the pastry cup.
- Begin by wetting your thumbs and pressing in the middle of your pastry chunk to make it spread out in its circle, this will make a kind of disc shape which is thick around the edge.
- Then wet your fingers and use them to pull the thick edges up and spread it out to make a sort of cup shape. Be careful not to make the pastry too thin as it still needs to hold the custard. The cups do not need to reach the top of the muffin tray., remembers they are small bite-size tarts.
- Once you have made your cups pour the custard into each until 3/4 full. Then sprinkle some ground cinnamon on top of each tart
- Bake in the oven for 8 mins, or until the pastry is browning.
- Leave to cool in the tray until cool enough to transfer into a wire rack.
- Repeat step 7 to 13 if you only have 1 muffin tray to use at a time.