Pastéis de Nata - Portuguese Custard Tarts
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Pastéis de Nata - Portuguese Custard Tarts are a popular Portuguese dessert, known and loved worldwide. It consists of a crispy flaky buttery crust filled with a smooth creamy custard filling, dusted with cinnamon and powdered sugar as a final touch. It is an incredible and amazing experience for your taste buds and you can hardly stop from eating only one tart.
You can actually buy molds specific for these Portuguese Custard Tarts but they can also be made simply using a muffin pan. Even if the results might not be as great and a bit smaller than the original ones, the tarts are still very satisfying and absolutely delicious.
The recipe is not very difficult and uses basic ingredients you already have in the house. It is best though, to make the pastry dough a day before so it has time to chill. If you don’t feel like making the pastry by yourself you can consider using store bought puff pastry, though the result might not be exactly the same. When chilled, the dough is gently pressed onto the bottom and sides of the molds and then filled with the prepared custard filling. It takes about 10 minutes to bake at very high heat and soon results in this amazing symphony of colors, flavors and texture. The tars are best served warm, dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon. Hope you will try these out and enjoy.
- Makes about 12 tarts
- Pastry Dough
- 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp (1g) salt
- 3 fl oz (90ml) water
- 1/2 cup (110g) unsalted butter, softened, divided
- For the custard
- 2/3 cup (135g) sugar
- 1/4 cup (50ml) water
- cinnamon sticks (8g)
- Peel from a small lemon
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup (30g) flour
- 1/4 tsp (1g) salt
- 1 cup (240ml) milk
- 1 tsp (5g) vanilla extract
- For dusting
- powdered sugar
- cinnamon powder
- Prepare the dough preferably a day in advance. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour and salt. Add water and using a hand mixer with dough hooks attached, mix for about 3-5 minutes on low speed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- Dust generously the working surface with flour. Transfer the dough onto the floured surface, and flatten slightly. Flour the rolling pin and start rolling the dough into about a 12 inch (30cm) square.
- Spread 2 1/2 tablespoons (35g) softened butter over the 2 left thirds of the square. Fold dough like a letter into thirds, starting with the right unbuttered side of the square. Brush flour excess whenever necessary. Rotate the dough 90° and repeat rolling the dough into a 12 inch (30cm) square. Again, spread 2 1/2 tablespoons (35g) softened butter over the 2 left thirds of the square. Fold dough like a letter into thirds, starting with the right unbuttered side of the square. Brush flour excess whenever necessary. Rotate the dough 90° and repeat rolling the dough into a 12 inch (30cm) square.
- Finally spread 3 tablespoons (40g) softened butter over the whole square, leaving a ½ inch (1cm) border.
- Roll the dough into a log.
- Trim the ends of the dough and divide the log in two for easier handling.
- Wrap each log in plastic wrap and refrigerate until very firm, for at least 3 hours or better overnight.
- Prepare the custard. In a medium saucepan add water, sugar, lemon peel and cinnamon sticks and place over medium heat. Cook, without stirring, until the mixture gets to 220°F (100°C). Remove from heat and set aside.
- In another medium saucepan add the flour and salt and gradually mix in the milk. Place over medium-low heat until thickened, whisking continuously.
- Remove from heat and add vanilla extract. Strain the sugar syrup over the milk mixture. Whisk to combine.
- Let cool slightly. Gradually add egg yolks and mix to combine. Strain the mixture into a jug. Set aside until you prepare the pastry cups.
- Preheat the oven to 500F (260C). Slightly grease a 12 cavity muffin pan.
- Divide the dough pieces into the muffin pan. Using wet fingers, gently press the dough onto the bottom and sides of each muffin cup.
- If the dough softened too much, refrigerate the pan for about 10-15 minutes.
- Fill each cup with prepared custard, ¾ full.
- Bake for 10-13 minutes, until the edges are browned and custard is puffed and blackened in spots.
- Cool slightly in the pan, and then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Dust with powdered sugar and cinnamon powder and serve slightly warm. Enjoy!