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How to make pasteis de nata at home - Portuguese custard tarts made with vanilla creme pat in a cinnamon swirl puff pastry case
Pasteis de Nata

The national sweet treat of Portugal, Pasteis de Nata are commonly flavoured with vanilla and cinnamon but you could use lemon instead of or as well if you prefer.  Custard tarts like you have never had before!

Servings: 12
: 373 kcal
Author: Just Jo
  • 500 g puff pastry
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp icing sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 450 ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 50 ml double cream
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 120 g caster sugar
  • 100 g plain flour
  1. Roll the pastry out into a large rectangle (the exact measurements are not important) about 5mm thick, sprinkling the work surface and dough liberally with the icing sugar.
  2. Sprinkle with the cinnamon and a little more icing sugar then roll up like a swiss roll and cut into 12 equally sized pieces. If you are using mince pie/jam tart tins, you will get almost double the amount. If you only have one tin, keep half the pastry in the fridge until the first batch is baked. 

  3. Take each “roll” of pastry and turn it cut side up. Flatten and roll out a few millimetres (quarter inch) thick, big enough to line a muffin cup with a tiny amount of pastry above the rim (allows for shrinkage). Chill until needed.

  4. Make the creme patisserie – whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a medium sized bowl bowl or large jug and then sift over and whisk in the flour. This minimises lumpiness.

  5. Place the milk and cream in a sauce pan and scrape in the seeds of the vanilla bean. Pop in the bean for good measure and bring to the boil over high heat.

  6. Remove the vanilla pod then in a very slow, thin stream, pour the cream over the egg yolk mixture, whisking rapidly - it will start to thicken immediately if you have got your cream hot enough. If there is any burnt milk in the saucepan, wash and dry it before scraping the custard back into it. Bring to the boil one final time, whisking constantly until very thick and heavy on the whisk - it should take less than a minute.  

  7. Pass the custard through a fine meshed sieve to remove any lumps into a clean jug or bowl then cover the surface with clingfilm and leave to cool to room temperature. Store in the fridge overnight if not using immediately.
  8. Remove pastry from the fridge and dollop in the creme pat until it comes 1-2mm below the pastry case rims. It will puff dramatically in the oven but is thick enough not to spill out. I use a large piping bag actually which is much faster. 

  9. If you have a Welsh bakestone, place it in the oven as it preheats to 220°C WITH THE FAN ON* for 10-12 minutes until the pastry is cooked through and deep golden brown and the custard is browned on top and will have puffed up to almost double it’s height – it falls on cooling and leaves a dimpled surface.

  10. Leave to cool for 5 minutes only then carefully remove from the tin with a plastic knife if they have caught anywhere. Transfer to a rack for 10-15 minutes to cool as the sugar in the pastry will make these hot, hot, hot! Dive in and indulge as soon as they are room temperature.
Recipe Notes

Note these little tarts puff up like crazy on baking - don't be scared, this is normal! They start to sink after you take them out the oven and they will sag and crinkle a little. Again - this is normal!

*= If you don't have a fan oven, increase the temperature to 240˚C to ensure you get a good crisp finish with burnished tops.