Pastel de Nata (Custard Tarts)
I am a big fan of all things custard and these Portuguese Pastel de Nata specialities from Lisbon are just perfect and fairly simple to recreate too.
Created by Monks in the 18th century, they have a buttery, flaky crust filled with a creamy egg custard filling.
I used ready-made puff pastry for this recipe, but if you feel like making your own, I recommend making my flaky pastry recipe. It works really well and takes less time to make than puff pastry.
If you decide to give this recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment below and rate it – it’s really helpful to me and the other readers. And don’t forget to take a picture and tag it #thegourmetlarder on Instagram. I love seeing what you come up with! 🙂
For this recipe all you need are these ingredients:
- Unwaxed lemon
- Pure vanilla extract or paste
- Cinnamon stick
- Unsalted butter
- Caster or granulated white sugar
- Puff pastry
TIP: I highly recommend adding salt to your doughs and pastry. Salt helps balance out the sweetness and richness. It also elevates the other ingredients, bring out the best characteristics of any recipe. I recommend Maldon Sea salt flakes or Cornish sea salt.
WHAT VARIATIONS CAN I MAKE?
- Fruits: If you feel like fruit versions of these, you can add blueberries or raspberries to the bottom of the shells before adding the custard.
- Chocolate: Try placing a few chocolate chips in the bottom of the shells before adding the custard.
If you experiment, I would love to know how you get on and share it with the other readers.
TIP: I highly recommend using metric measurements and a digital kitchen scale, rather than cup measurements. If you have ever ended up with dry, dense or crumbly baked goods, it might be because of inaccurate volume measurements, not all measuring cups are made equally. All my recipes on this blog are carefully developed so that you can easily recreate them in your own kitchen with success, using metric measurements. It is also a lot easier, less messy and you will get far better, consistent results. 🙂
If you are interested in understanding conversions, here you will find the best conversion chart.
Serving: one pastel de nata
Nutrition information can vary for a recipe based on factors such as precision of measurements, brands, ingredient freshness, or the source of nutrition data.
I strive to keep the information as accurate as possible but make no warranties regarding its accuracy.
I encourage you to make your own calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.
STORAGE AND FREEZING
These custard tarts are best eaten the day they are made. If necessary they can be kept in an airtight tin in the fridge for 3 days, but they will become soft over time.
Freezing: These tarts can be frozen but the taste and quality will be very different.
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Pastel de Nata
- 1 Muffin tin see suggested equipment
For the custard
- 180 ml milk
- 120 ml double or heavy cream
- 1/2 of an unwaxed lemon (rind)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp of vanilla paste
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 20 g butter
- 3 medium egg yolks
- 80 g caster sugar
- 2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
- 1 pinch fine sea salt
For the caramel syrup
- 80 g caster sugar
- 40 ml water
For the pastry
- 275 g readymade puff pastry
- Custard: Place the milk, cream, lemon rind, cinnamon stick and butter into a sauce pan and heat until almost boiling.
- In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, salt and cornflour together to form a paste.
- Pour the warm milk mixture over the flour paste and then sieve the whole mixture back into the pan, heat gently and keep stirring for 3-4 mins until it reaches the consistency of double cream. Remove from the heat and cover the surface with heat resistant clingfilm to cool.
- Pastry shells: There are two methods for making pastry shells. The traditional way which I use is to roll the pastry sheet into a log about 2.5 cm thick. Then cut 10 x 1.5 cm slices. Place a piece into a greased muffin tin and wet your fingers with cold water. Work the discs into the tins with your fingers, pressing and stretching them to fill the tins.
- The second method that can be used is to cut out 10 discs from the pre-rolled pastry. Work the discs into the tins with your fingers as with the first method.
- Heat oven to 200°C fan / 425°F / Gas 7.
- Baking: Once all the pastry shells are ready to fill with the custard mix and place in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes.
- Caramel syrup: Put 80 g granulated sugar in a heavy pan and stir over medium heat for 5 mins until you have a light caramel. Take the pan off the heat and carefully pour in 40 ml water. Return the pan to low heat until the sugar has melted again into syrup.
- After 15 mins, turn the oven onto its grill setting and transfer the tarts to the top shelf. Grill for 2 mins until they begin to caramelise. Remove from the oven and brush with a little of the caramel.
- Let the tarts cool slightly in the moulds before turning out onto a cooling rack.
PLEASE LET ME KNOW HOW IT TURNED OUT FOR YOU!
I love to hear your feedback, please leave your thoughts and a rating using the comments section below!