Posts

Pastéis de Nata Portuguese Custard Tarts

After tasting the exquisite Pastéis de Nata from Comme à Lisbonne in Paris, I just had to make these delicious Portuguese custard tarts at home. Besides, it’s a great egg yolk recipe for macaron lovers needing egg whites!

Pasteis de nata egg yolk recipe

An Easy Recipe for Custard Tarts

In true lazy gourmet style, I cheat and use ready-made puff pastry.  There’s nothing wrong with that. Just remember to use a good quality all-butter puff pastry. I use either defrosted (here in France, Picard do a good frozen puff), or ready-rolled (these are in packets of 230g and so easy to use). Did you know that in France, you can ask your local boulangerie for some of their homemade puff pastry (normally needs to be ordered in advance). If not ready-rolled, just roll out the pastry to 3-5mm thickness and cut out your circles according to the recipe below.

One factor that’s not easy to control is the traditional extra hot oven needed to make traditional sized custard tarts more genuine looking.  As not all of our home kitchen ovens can go up as high as professional ovens to give them that beautifully scorched look, put it as high as you can – and keep an eye on them!  I’d suggest 7-10 minutes if it’s very hot, otherwise for about 10-15 minutes. Click here for more about Pasteis de Nata and how popular they are in Paris!

pasteis de nata recipe

The Story Behind Pastéis de Nata

As large quantities of egg whites were used for starching clothes in the monasteries and convents around the 18th Century, the monks discovered this delicious way of using up the egg yolks and so a legendary Portuguese pastry was born.  And just for the record, I don’t starch Monsieur’s shirts with egg whites. No surprise – I use them to make macarons – much better fun!

PASTÉIS DE NATA

Recipe inspired by Denise Browning at From Brazil to You, who adapted it from the cookbook, “Cozinha Tradicional Porguguesa”. Denise made mini tarts, whereas I made a slightly bigger, more traditional size like they serve at Comme à Lisbonne. So I used half quantity to fill regular muffin moulds, and cut down the sugar slightly, using a vanilla pod/bean instead of the extract.

Makes 12 tartlets (using 2x 6-cavity non-stick muffin moulds @ 7cm diameter)

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Baking Time: 8-15 minutes (depending on your oven)

Ingredients:

4 egg yolks
80g sugar
15g cornflour/cornstarch (a lightly heaped tablespoon)
1 vanilla pod/bean, scraped of seeds*
250ml whole milk
230g puff pastry (1 pack of ready-rolled or a pack of frozen puff, defrosted)
Powdered cinnamon (to serve)

* 1 tbsp vanilla extract

1. Chill a bowl in the fridge. Put the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour and vanilla seeds (scraped from a pod cut in half down the middle horizontally) in a saucepan and mix well using a balloon whisk until you have a creamy paste. Gradually add the milk, whisking until mixed well together.

2. Put the pan on a medium heat and whisk constantly until the mixture thickens.  Remove pan from the heat. (If you don’t use the vanilla pod, add the extract at this point). Transfer the custard to the chilled bowl and immediately cover it with cling film to prevent a skin from forming. Set aside to cool.

3. Lightly oil or butter the muffin moulds and preheat the oven preferably to the highest setting – I used  250°C/480°F/230°C mark 9.

4. On a lightly floured surface – roll the pastry if needed – using a cookie cutter or glass (about 9cm diameter, slightly bigger than the 7cm diameter muffin cavity), cut out discs and press them into each cavity.  Spoon in the cooled custard about 3/4 to the top then bake for 7-10 minutes.  Keep an eye on them!

making portuguese custard tarts

5. Leave to cool in the moulds/tins for about 5 minutes then turn them out on to a wire rack.

Serve them slightly warm, lightly dusted with cinnamon.

Portuguese custard tarts and macarons

A baker’s loop. Use yolks for the custard tarts and macarons for the whites…

PASTÉIS DE NATA RECIPE
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 

Inspired by the egg custard tarts served at 'Comme à Lisbonne' in Paris. As large quantities of egg whites were used for starching clothes in the Portuguese monasteries and convents around the 18th Century, the monks discovered this delicious way of using up the egg yolks and so the legendary Portuguese pastry was born. Keep your egg whites for making macarons!

Course: Breakfast, Dessert, teatime
Cuisine: Portuguese
Keyword: custard tart, pasteis de nata, Portuguese tarts
Servings: 12 tartlets
Calories: 134 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 80 g sugar
  • 15 g cornflour/cornstarch a lightly heaped tablespoon
  • 1 vanilla pod/bean scraped of seeds (or vanilla extract)
  • 250 ml whole milk
  • 230 g puff pastry 1 pack of ready-rolled or a pack of frozen puff, defrosted
  • Powdered cinnamon to serve
Instructions
  1. Chill a bowl in the fridge. Put the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour and vanilla seeds (scraped from a pod cut in half down the middle horizontally) in a saucepan and mix well using a balloon whisk until you have a creamy paste. Gradually add the milk, whisking until mixed well together.
  2. Put the pan on a medium heat and whisk constantly until the mixture thickens. Remove pan from the heat. (If you don’t use the vanilla pod, add the extract at this point). Transfer the custard to the chilled bowl and immediately cover it with cling film to prevent a skin from forming. Set aside to cool.
  3. Lightly oil or butter the muffin moulds and preheat the oven preferably to the highest setting – I used 250°C/480°F/230°C mark 9.
  4. On a lightly floured surface – roll the pastry if needed – using a cookie cutter or glass (about 9cm diameter, slightly bigger than the 7cm diameter muffin cavity), cut out discs and press them into each cavity. Spoon in the cooled custard about 3/4 to the top then bake for 7-10 minutes. Keep an eye on them!
  5. Leave to cool in the moulds/tins for about 5 minutes then turn them out on to a wire rack.
Recipe Notes

Serve slightly warm, lightly dusted with cinnamon.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

Pasteis de nata portuguese custard tarts

Never Miss a New Article or Recipe!

Sign up for your free email alert, straight to your inbox: choose from daily, weekly or monthly. Your email is NEVER SHARED and you can easily opt out at any time at the bottom of every email.