Flaky on the outside and deliciously soft on the inside, Pastéis de Nata, or Portuguese Custard Tarts, are something I’ve always wanted to try to make and I finally got around to it over the weekend, following this recipe from Olive Magazine.
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 2 tbsp icing sugar, plus more to sprinkle on top
- 375g all butter puff pastry
- 250g golden caster sugar
- 2 strips lemon zest
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 eggs
- 4 egg yolks
- 50g corn flour
- 500ml whole milk
- Seeds of 1 vanilla pod
- Ground cinnamon for sprinkling on top
Start by mixing the flour and icing sugar and use this to dust your table.
Next, roll out your pastry. Aim for a rectangular shape about 30 x 45 cm.
Once you have your rectangle, roll up the pastry lengthways.
Cut this into 24 equal pieces. They will be 1-2 cm thick. I just cut in half, each piece in half again and then thirds and they came out pretty equal.
Next, roll each of these until they are nice circular shapes that fit into fairy tins (shallower than regular muffin tins).
Pop these in the fridge and chill until you’re ready to use them. If you only have one tin, you can just chill the extra 12 pastry pieces as they are until the first batch is baked and then roll them out.
At this point, you can pre-heat your oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7.
In a pot, put the caster sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon stick and 200ml water to make a sugar syrup. Bring to a boil and reduce until you have a syrupy texture. Be careful not to reduce too much or it will crystallise as it cools. Keep an eye on it! Once it cools, remove the cinnamon and lemon.
In a second, larger pot, mix the cornflour, eggs and egg yolks. Whisk until smooth and set aside for now.
In a third pot, heat the milk and vanilla beans until just before the boil.
Slowly pour the milk over the cornflour and eggs and cook on a low heat, whisking continuously. Add in the cooled syrup and keep whisking on a low heat until it has thickened slightly. Mmm, custard!
Pour the custard through a sieve to get rid of any chunks on cinnamon stick, etc that remained.
Carefully pour the custard into your prepared tin.
Bake for about 15 minutes. The pastry should be golden and the custard slightly darkened on top. Cool completely before removing from the tin.
To serve, sprinkle with a mix of ground cinnamon and icing sugar.
These are typically enjoyed with strong coffee, but being more of a tea drinker, I can confirm they are just as good with nice English breakfast brew!