Pasteis de nata are Portuguese custard cream tarts. They are compose of a puff pastry shell with a fill of custard cream with lemon and cinnamon.
These beauties were posted my Instagram friend @ancheoggisidimagriscedomani during her trip to Lisbon.
So I headed over to YouTube and watched many video recipes in Portuguese and I didn’t understand that much 😂
So this is my version of the Pasteis de nata original portuguese recipe, or at least as far as I understood….
I think it is paramount how the puff pastry is placed in the molds: as thin as it can be without breaking.
This is another typical example of “stealing with your eyes”. This probably doesn’t make much sense in English but my mum uses this expression. It means that if you see something done over and over again you somehow internalize it without knowing.
Like seeing your grandma make these pasteis 1000 times one would make them with their eyes closed.
But I had to adapt and improvise.
First time around the pastry was too thick. The ones I saw only had a very thin pastry.
As usual when it comes down to puff pastry I give 3 options, in order of difficulty:
1) store bought puff pastry
2) easy puff pastry
3) classic puff pastry
Pasteis de nata
- 500 g puff pastry 17.6 oz
- 256 g milk 9 oz
- 200 g sugar 7 oz
- 100 g water 3.5 oz
- 30 g flour 1.1 oz
- 4 egg yolks
- cinnamon 1 stick
- grated lemon zest 1 lemon, untreated
For the custard cream:
- Weight the milk and pour some (approx 40g / 1.4 oz) in the flour and stir. It should have a creamy consistency.
- Put the remaining milk on medium heat together with the lemon zest and the cinnamon stick.
- In a pot (preferably heavy bottomed) put the water and sugar on medium heat. When it reaches the temperature of 115° C (239° F) remove from heat. I noticed that some traditional recipes (no thermometer) suggest to count 3 minutes from when the syrup starts making bubbles.
- When the milk starts to boil pour a small amount in the flour batter and stir. Pour the batter in the hot milk and cook while stirring constantly. Remove from heat when the mixture thickens.
- Drizzle in the hot syrup while whisking constantly.
- Filter through a sieve to remove lemon and cinnamon.
- Transfer the mixture in a bowl previously kept in the freezer, or in a baine-marie with water and ice.
- Once lukewarm, pour a small amount of mixture in the egg yolks and mix. Pour everything in the main mixture and mix well.
For the puff pastry shells:
- Roll out the puff pastry in a 20 x 40 cm rectangle (0.7 x 1.4 in).
- Roll the rectangle from the longer side to create a cylinder. Wrap in cling film and place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
- Divide the cylinder in 12 discs roughly 2 cm in width (0.8 in).
- Preheat the oven at 250° C (482° F).
- Traditional recipes use the classic pasteis moulds. I used a 12-cup muffin pan.
- Put one disc in each slot and press with your finger to shape the dough. You will have to create some sort of tarts. Note: the pastry in the cups have to be as thin as possible without breaking.
- Using a measuring funnel or similar, pour the cream up to the ¾ of each slot. During baking they will rise.
- Most recipes I saw said bake for 15 minutes but with my oven I reached ideal results with 17 minutes at 250° C (482° F). They have to be a bit burnt on top.
- Alternatively you can pass them in the grill for 1 minute.