The Most Delicious Pasteis de Nata – Portuguese Custard Tarts
For my baking around the world challenge I stumbled across Pasteis de Belem aka Pasteis de Nata for Portugal. I tried them and all I can say is these pasteis are A-MA-ZING! I love them. I understand why the Portuguese love them. The custard infused with lemon, cinnamon and vanilla combined with the crisp puff pastry is a great combination. Simple flavours, maximum taste. Definitely one of my favourite recipes.
I found the recipe on Delicious and tweaked it a bit to fit to my liking.
Making Pasteis de Nata
Making Pasteis de Nata isn’t too difficult but it does take some time.
You’ll need, flour, sugar, milk, water, puff pastry, a couple of eggs, strips of zest of 1 lemon, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 vanilla bean cut in half and with the seeds scraped out. A little butter for greasing and confectioner’s sugar and ground cinnamon for dusting. (A full list of ingredients including measurements can be found in the recipe card below).
First, take your mini muffin tins and grease the holes thoroughly with butter. Once done, make sure you put the tins in the fridge.
Next let’s start with the custard. Pour milk in a pan.
Add half of the lemon zest, one cinnamon stick and the vanilla bean plus the scraped out seeds and bring to a simmer.
Strain the milk into a bowl.
You want to make sure you strain out the cinnamon stick, vanilla bean and lemon zest.
(I prefer to strain my milk mixture but if you prefer to take out the cinnamon stick and lemon zest out of the milk another way that’s fine as well.)
You’ll be left with a gorgeous smelling milk mixture. the black speckles are the vanilla seeds giving lovely flavour.
Pour a little under half of the milk with your flour.
Mix thoroughly, make sure all of the flour has been combined with the milk.
Pour the remaining milk back into a pan and bring to a boil.
Take the pan off the heat and while stirring constantly, pour in the milk and flour mixture.
Mix until thick. Set aside
Now it’s time to make the syrup for the custard. Take a saucepan and pour in the water.
And the zest of half a lemon and one cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil and either use a thermometer to check till it reaches 108 ºC / 226 ºF or do the test below.
If you don’t have a thermometer, boil the sugar for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, take a spoonful of syrup and put it on a plate. Beware sugar syrup is very hot!! Leave to cool for a few minutes. Once cooled test the syrup by putting some of it between your thumb and index finger. If threads appear the syrups is done, if not, boil a little bit longer and do the test again.
You’ll be left with a delicious cinnamon lemony syrup.
Remove the cinnamon stick and lemon zest strips from the syrup.
While stirring constantly, pour the syrup into the milk mixture.
Add in the eggs and mix till combined.
Strain the custard into a bowl.
Use a scraper to push the last bit through the sieve.
Cover with clingfilm lightly touching the custard.
Preheat the oven to 175 º C / 350 ºF.
Take your puff pastry and cut out circles for your muffin tin.
The circles should be big enough to cover the holes and there’s a enough to hang over the top of the hole.
Pour the custard into the pastry cups. Put in a preheated oven for about 15 minutes.
Once the pastry turns golden brown, take them out of the oven and leave to cool a few minutes in the tin.
Once slightly cooled, take them out of the tin and transfer to a wire rack. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.
Followed by a touch of cinnamon.
And you’ll en up with these little delicious pasteis.
Don’t you just want to bite into them? I can’t stop taking pictures!
Okay, last photo. These pasteis are well worth the effort of making. They’re best eaten the day they’re made, preferably when they’re still a little warm. You can keep them but I doubt you’ll have any left. When I make them they’re always gone before I know it.
Try it out and let me know what you think. Is this going to be one of your favourite recipes as well?