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Pastéis de Nata recipe

Pastéis de Nata


These traditional Portuguese custard tarts are an absolute national treasure!

  • Yields: 12 |
  • Rating:

  • Difficulty:

  • Prep Time : 30 mins |
  • Cook Time : 35 mins
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250 g flour
1 tsp (5 ml) salt
250 g butter
90 ml cold water

Custard Filling

800 ml milk
30 g flour
20 g cornflour
6 egg yolks
150 g castor sugar
3 strips lemon rind
13 C (80 ml) water

Pastry (start the day before)

Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Roughly break the butter into small chunks, add to the flour and rub in loosely, some small pieces of butter should remain visible. Make a well in the centre of the flour and butter mix and pour in half of the cold water, mixing until it forms a firm, rough dough.

Add in a little extra water if needed. Cover with cling film and leave to rest for 20 minutes in the fridge.

Turn the pastry out onto a lightly floured surface and roll the dough until it is about 20×50 cm. Only roll in one direction and keep the edges as straight and even as possible. Don’t overwork the butter streaks; the pastry should retain a marbled effect.

Fold the top third down to the centre, then the bottom third up and over the top section. Give the pastry a quarter turn and roll out again to three times the length.

Repeat the folds as before, and then cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. Using as little flour as possible, roll the pastry out to a 30×30 cm square, finally, roll the pastry up in the shape of a Swiss roll, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The following day:

Preheat the oven to 230 °C

Grease a 12-cup muffin tray.

Slice 15 mm thick slices from the rolled pastry ‘sausage’ and then roll out the individual pastry rounds to make flat 10 cm thick rounds. Ease the rolled dough into the muffin cups, trim the edges but let the pastry extend a little beyond the rim. Repeat until all the muffin cups are lined and then refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Custard Filling

Whisk 50 ml of milk, the flours and egg yolks together until smooth.

Combine the sugar, lemon rind and water in a saucepan and stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves and then bring the mixture to the boil. Add the rest of the milk to the sugar mixture and bring it to the boil again.

Gradually add the hot milk mixture to the flour mixture whisking all the time. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook until thickened. Remove the lemon rind and cover the custard with baking paper or cling wrap. Allow the custard to cool completely.

Fill the tart shells two-thirds of the way with the custard mixture. Bake for 5 minutes at 220 °C and then reduce the temperature to 200 °C. Bake for a further 15-20 minutes until the filling is bubbling and the tops of the tartlets have a few darker brown spots.

Remove from the oven and cool completely so that the custard sets and then serve.