Pasteis De Nata
If you’ve ever been to Portugal the chances are you’ve sampled a Pasteis de Nata or two, or three. It’s said that these little iconic custard tarts were invented by the monks of the famous Jeronimos Monastery, who used egg whites to starch their clothing. Not ones to waste food, they used the yolks to make cakes and pastries, and these delicious tarts with a flaky pastry case and a sweet, creamy filling sprinkled with cinnamon really are a heavenly treat.
If you can’t wait till your next holiday, why not rustle up a batch yourself from the recipe, which makes 10 and allows you to cheat by using ready-made pastry.
Our tip – they’re definitely best served warm
You will need
For the Sugar Syrup
- 250g/9oz caster sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 lemon, whole peeled rind only
For the Custard filling
- 25g/1oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 12g cornflour
- 300ml/10½ fl oz milk
- 4 free-range egg yolks, plus 1 whole free-range egg
- Vanilla seeds from one vanilla pod
- 300g/10½oz ready-made all-butter puff pastry
- Pre heat the oven to its highest setting, or at a least 230c/210c Fan/Gas 8
- Bring the sugar, cinnamon and lemon rind to the boil in a saucepan with 250m/9fl oz water. Reduce the heat, the simmer for 3 minutes. Set the syrup side until cool. Once cool, discard the cinnamon stick and lemon rind.
- Mix the flours together in a bowl. Pour in a little of the milk and stir with your finger until combined.
- Bring the remaining milk to the boil in a saucepan over low heat, stirring regularly.
- Gradually add the boiled milk to the flour mixture and whisk for 1 minute, or until smooth and well combined.
- Slowly whisk in the sugar syrup until well combined.
- Whisk in the egg yolks, whole egg and vanilla seeds until smooth and well combined.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to a rectangle measuring approximately 50x30cm/20x12in, but more importantly to a thickness of 1mm.
- With the longest edge of the pastry rectangle facing you, roll the pastry as tightly as possible, brushing it from the right to the left with water as you o. Cut the pastry roll into 2cm/¾ in-thick discs.
- Place the discs in the holes of a muffin tin and massage them with a circular motion using a wet thumb, until the pastry rises and the sides of the holes in the tray. Don’t make any holes in the pastry.
- Fill the pastry cases with the custard until they are almost, but not quite, full.
- Bake the custard tarts in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the pastry has risen and the surface of the custard is scorched. Set aside to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving to allow the custard to set slightly.