One bite of a pastéis de nata and I am straight back in Portugal. I first discovered these fabulously flaky custard tarts on a holiday to Lisbon with my friends Lucy, Claire and Liv. Each morning we would walk out from the old converted convent where we were staying to the nearest little bakery to get some pastis de nata still hot from the oven.
Of course these Portuguese custard tarts don’t taste exactly the same as the ones you get in Lisbon but a lot of that has to do with not eating them under the blue, Portuguese skys while wandering down tiny cobbled lanes.
They may not entirely authentic but my take on pastéis de nata are a bright, sunny yellow, browned at the edges and surrounded in buttery puff pastry.
The recipe is a little time consuming but I think the results are worth it. I do cheat a little as well by just buying puff pastry.
You could make your own puff but I’m much to lazy for that and so just buy the most expensive I can get my hands on (Careme from specialty stores is really good).
- 1 lemon
- 250ml milk
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 300g caster sugar
- 150ml water
- 1 pack of puff pastry
- 25g butter
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 250c.
- Slice a couple of pieces of lemon peel from the lemon and place in a saucepan with the milk and cinnamon.
- Cook over a medium heat until the milk starts to bubble, then remove from the heat and remove the lemon and cinnamon before setting aside.
- Combine the sugar and water in another pan over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Simmer for 5 minutes to thicken then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
- Butter a mini muffin tin and then cut the puff pastry into circles that are a little larger than the muffin tin holes. The pastry should not protrude over the top too much.
- Once the syrup and milk are cool add them together and stir to combine.
- In another bowl, whisk the cornflour and vanilla extract with the egg yolks until you have a smooth paste and then slowly whisk in the milk mixture.
- Strain the mixture into a jug and then fill the pastry lined mini muffin tin. Bake for 20 mins or until the custard has puffed up and the tops of the tarts start to brown.