5th Aug 2013

Pastéis de Nata/Portuguese Custard Tarts

These have to be one of my favourite sweet treats, when I was living in Portugal I had them every morning without fail with my coffee… Then, when in the UK, my good friend Tatiana, from the Marmalade Cookery School used to make them whenever I requested. I am now in New Zealand and the cravings were getting pretty bad, so I decided to make them myself… Super easy to make but I warn you, they're extremely addictive...

For the pastry

Ingredients:

  250g Plain Flour
  1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  250g Unsalted Butter
  150ml  Cold Water

Method:

First of all, sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Cut your butter into small cubes and add to the mixing bowl. Stir until the butter is well coated and then pour in the water and mix to form a rough dough.

Once combined, take the dough and place onto a well floured surface. Roll out the dough using a floured rolling pin to about 1cm thick and starting at one end, roll into a log, repeat this process a few times which will give you a super smooth dough. Next, wrap in cling film and place into the fridge for about 20mins.

While you're waiting for your dough to chill, you can get started on the custard mixture.

For the custard

Ingredients:

  250g Caster Sugar
  2 Cinnamon Quills
  250ml Milk
  125ml Water
  50g Plain Flour
  1 Vanilla Pod
  6 large egg yolks
  Icing Sugar and Ground Cinnamon for dusting

Method:

First of all, sift the flour into a large mixing bowl, add 50ml of your milk and whisk until smooth. Set aside for a minute.

Take a medium sized sauce pan and add your sugar, water and cinnamon quills.  Place on a high heat and bring to the boil. Continue to boil for a few minutes until your sugar syrup starts to form. Don't over boil it, we're not trying to make a caramel.

In a separate saucepan, bring your remaining milk to scalding point but don't let it boil. Then add this to your mixing bowl, whisking continuously until it thickens nicely. Remove the cinnamon quills from your syrup and slowly pour into you flour and milk mixture. Split your vanilla pod and scrape the seeds into the mixture.

Next, whisk your eggs yolks and add to the mixture, again whisking to combine. Cover with cling film and set aside.

Assembling your pastries

Put your oven on full whack and take your pastry out of the fridge. Take a 12 hole muffin tin and grease each well with butter. Cut your pastry log into 1\2 inch disks and place a disk into each hole.

One at a time, press your pastry and working in a circular motion, press until it it comes up over the top of the sides(see image). I find it helps to have a cup of water nearby for dipping as it makes shaping the pastry easier. Once completed, simply pour in your custard mix until each one is about 3/4 full. Then carefully place in the oven ensuring not to spill any mixture.

Bake for around 8-9mins or until your tarts are nicely browned on top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving.

NOTE: Please do not attempt to eat straight from the oven as you will scald the roof of your mouth… I know its tempting but having done this myself, I wouldn't recommend it.

Recipe, Photography & Food Styling by Jon Lewin