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Portuguese Custard Tarts – Pastel de Nata Delicioso!

Greetings taste2tasters! It’s been a while since our our last post and hope you have been enjoying the Summer, which finally arrived in London. I was reminded by Simon & YO Facebook foodie friends about one of my favourite pastries  – the pastel de nata. I was lucky enough to visit the famous pastry shop or Pasteis de  Belem in  Lisbon a few years back. They have been making them since 1837 to a secret recipe. The place is iconic from the blue & white tiled walls to the waft of sweet aromas & queue of people waiting in anticipation.  I was inspired to make my own which I dedicate to the Portuguese Football team that won the European Championship.

Ingredients (makes about 24 )

Filling Ingredients

Filling Ingredients

  • 300 ml (1 1/4cups) whole milk (3.6% fat)
  • 260g ( 1 1/3 cups) caster sugar ( I used golden caster for flavour)
  • 160 ml (2/3 cup) water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 7 cm (3 inch) strip of fresh lemon peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons of plain (all purpose) flour, plus some extra to dust
  • 400g (14oz)  ready made all butter puff pastry
  • powdered cinnamon & freshly grated nutmeg, to decorate

Method

Pastry rolled into a large, thin rectangle

Pastry rolled into a large, thin rectangle

  • On a  a lightly floured surface roll out the pastry to a large rectangle roughly 20 x 35 cm (8 x 13.8 inches) and 3 mm (0.1 inch) thick
  • Beginning from the long side carefully roll the thin pastry up into a log, wrap in cling film (saran wrap) and chill in the fridge for a few minutes whilst you make the filling
    Pastry log wrapped & ready to chill

    Pastry log wrapped & ready to chill

    Roll it roll it roll it!

    Roll it roll it roll it!

 

  • Heat the sugar and water in a heavy based pan on medium, swirl gently but don’t stir
  • Cook until the sugar is dissolved, bubbling and reaches 100 C (212 F) which will take about 5 minutes
    Sugar syrup boiling

    Sugar syrup boiling

    Milk, cinnamon stick & lemon peel warming

    Milk, cinnamon stick & lemon peel warming

  • Put 250 ml (8.8 fl oz) milk, cinnamon stick, lemon peel in a small pan and heat on medium until just below boiling point
Milk & flour whisked

Milk & flour whisked

  • Mix 50 ml (1.7 fl oz) milk in a heat proof bowl and whisk in 3 tablespoons of flour until incorporated and then add the hot milk and whisk briskly until thick
  • Pour the hot sugar syrup in a thin stream into the milk mixture whilst whisking briskly until mixed and the consistency of single cream
  • Add the vanilla extract, stir and cool slightly until warm, removing cinnamon stick & lemon peel
Custard filling cooling

Custard filling cooling

  • Whisk in the egg yolks until combined and cover with cling film to stop a skin forming
  • Heat the oven to 230 C (446 F) fan oven

 

Pastry log cut into pieces ready to form cases

Pastry log cut into pieces ready to form cases

  • Remove the pastry log from the fridge and on a floured surface roll until about 3 cm (1 1/4 inch) in diameter
  • Cut with a sharp knife into 15 mm ( 1 inch) thick pieces
From right to left: how to shape pastry to form cases

From right to left: how to shape pastry to form cases

  • Shape the dough to fill a muffin tray ( see picture) with the bottom thicker than the sides
  • Fill each pastry case 3/4 full with the custard filling
  • Bake for about 16 minutes until the pastry is golden, the custard cooked, with one or two caramelised spots on the surface

    Tarts ready to bake

    Tarts ready to bake

  • Remove from oven, sprinkle with powdered cinnamon & freshly grated nutmeg
  • Cool for at least 5 minutes in the tray, then using a pallet knife, remove and continue to cool on a wire tray

Tarts they are a cooling

Best eaten fresh, although you can keep in the fridge for up to 3 days and heat in an oven  180 C (356F)  for 5 minutes to re crisp the pastry.

Pastel de Nata – delicioso!

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