Pastéis de nata
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
  • 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
  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