Monday 24 September 2012

Portuguese Custard Tarts (Pasteis De Nata)

So, the holiday is well and truly over sadly. Back to sunny Scotland and almost sub-zero temperatures. Funny to think that just last week we were walking along the beach, wearing just our trunks! Doing that on the east coast of Scotland right now could have some dire consequences!!

But, as I promised, in my last post I wanted to bake something that I had on holiday – the custard tarts that I enjoyed. I have seen these called Pasteis De Nata or Pastel De Nata, not sure if one is the plural of the other, but it doesn’t affect how they taste – so let’s crack on.

There are various recipes all over the place, and I cobbled together a few basic ones. I have added cinnamon, which doesn’t appear in a lot of them, but I wanted to include the spice, as it would remind me of the eggy custard that my Granny Hetty made for me when I was little. Also, a lot of the recipes have you making your own pastry. I have one mantra in life (when it comes to baking anyway) and that is ‘Life is too short to make your own pastry’. Particularly when you can pick a ready-made pack from Tesco!

Yield: 12 delicious tarts

1 pack ready rolled puff pastry
240 ml milk
3 tablespoons cornflour
200 grams caster sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 egg yolks

Pre-heat your oven to 180oC. Now, I sprayed my 12 cup square muffin pan with some non-stick spray, not essential, but grease just to be on the safe side! Line each muffin well with puff pastry and trim off any excess. Set pan aside.

Whisk together the 6 egg yolks in a bowl and set aside. In a saucepan place the milk, cornflour, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon, over medium heat, stir until slightly thickened. Now drizzle half of the warm milk mix – VERY SLOWLY - into the egg yolks, stirring constantly. Tipping it all in would result in scrambled eggs, which you really don’t want. Add the yolk mix into the saucepan with the remaining milk mix and heat until boiling and thickened, stirring constantly. 

Remove from the heat and divide the custard mix into the 12 pastry lined wells. 

Pop this into the oven for 20 minutes. The custard mix will rise high during baking and start to darken. Once removed from the oven, it will shrink back and sink slightly which is normal, don’t worry!

Leave the tarts to cool completely and then remove carefully from the pan (I used a small fork to assist me).

These custard tarts are actually better than I had in Portugal I have to say and that is probably down to my love of cinnamon. If you don’t like cinnamon or want to be totally authentic then omit it, no harm done. The pastry is lovely with the thick, spiced vanilla filling – and even nicer with a hot cup of coffee! Enjoy :)

I am entering these delicacies into September's Alphabakes challenge, hosted by this month by Caroline Makes and ably assisted by The More Than Occasional Baker. This month the letter is 'P' and luckily both Portuguese Custard Tarts and Pasteis De Nata hit the mark!


  1. Oh, these look SO good! I think I have some puff in the freezer ..... eggs, milk,..yep, I think we've got everything we need to give these a go!

    Thanks for another great recipe! : )

  2. They look really authentic Stuart! Where did you get your square muffin pan, I've never seen one before?

    1. Thanks Janice, I got the pan fromTK Maxx - my favourite shop ever!!

  3. Definitely one of my favourite pastries and yours look lovely. I've never eaten them in Portugal, though. My downfall was a Portuguese bakery near where I was working in London.

    1. That must have been one amazing bakery - the Portuguese love their bakes!!

  4. Mmm, a great reminder of holidays past, and they look really cute in the tin! Thanks for entering them in Alphabakes.

  5. They look great x try putting lemonzest in the milk that was a tip i got from one of my Portuguese family member and they love them x


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