Pastéis de Nata (Portuguese Custard Tarts)

eyedocbakes

Let’s continue our international travel through the kitchen! Last week I shared a Norwegian pastry with you guys. In continuing with our travel plans, I bring you Pasteis de Nata! These are yummy Portuguese custard tarts that are dangerously easy to eat, since they’re bite sized and made with an easy homemade puff pastry!

I actually have a little bit of history with this dessert! I first tried these about a decade ago when I visited Portugal. At the time, I was definitely not into baking, and so I just enjoyed eating a couple (or 10) of these daily while visiting Lisbon. When I went back home, I didn’t think too much about them, since I didn’t think they would be easy to find. A few years later I visited family in Europe, and was re-introduced to pasteis de nata in a little outdoor market with a Portuguese food stand. As soon as I saw them in the display case, my mouth started to water. I remembered that soft custard, a touch cinnamon-y, but not too sweet. And that buttery puff pastry…be right back…gonna go eat some of these and then continue writing 😉 Anyway . . .the story continues back home again – because after that trip to Europe I was inspired to start baking! Using a ready made pie dough, pasteis de nata were one of the first pastries I ever baked! Of course, the dough was not right, but I was so proud of myself, I didn’t care! Well, time went on, and I’ve since learned a lot about baking, and was finally ready to tackle these little treats again. I’ve made several puff pastry doughs from scratch, but this was one is probably the least stress inducing, easiest one to make. And guess what? I made it in my stand mixer. It is my favorite kitchen appliance and I just refuse to use anything else when making dough! So read on so you can make these tasty little treats for yourself!

What You’ll Need. . . 

butter, room temperature

water

 salt

 flour 

and for the filling. . .

sugar

water

cinnamon

flour

milk

egg yolks

Cut butter into small cubes and set aside. Meanwhile, whisk the flour and salt together in a large bowl and pour into your stand mixer. With the paddle attachment on low, add one-two cubes of butter at a time until it starts to come together and clump somewhat. Add in the water and continue mixing (increase speed), until a dough forms into a ball. This should only take a minute. Now flour the surface you will be using to roll the dough out. If it is sticky, you will need extra flour. Knead the dough for about a minute, then roll it out into a large rectangle, about 2 feet long.  Fold the dough in thirds. Then turn it 90 degrees, roll it out and fold it in thirds again. Repeat 5 more times. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Let come to room temperature before you start making the pasteis de nata. By the way, any extra puff pastry dough can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the freezer for a few weeks (yay for more puff pastry goodies!). 

Bring the cinnamon, sugar/water to a boil in a saucepan, then remove from heat and let cool.  Meanwhile, whisk together the flour and 1/2 cup milk. Heat the remaining milk in a saucepan until it just starts to boil. Then remove from heat and pour into the milk/flour mixture. Now add in the sugar/cinnamon/water mixture. Return to the stove and simmer while whisking until the custard thickens. Once it is thickened, add all the egg yolks in and mix well, remove from heat. Strain this custard through a strainer.

Assembly. . .

Lightly flour your work surface, and cut your  puff pastry dough in half. Roll out each of your puff pastry dough into a rectangle. Starting from the smaller side, roll the rectangle into a roll. Repeat for the second piece. Freeze for 20 minutes. You should be able to cut the dough into 36-40 disks. Use your rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to roll each disk into a 1/4 inch thick flat circle. butter your muffin tins. Place each circle into your muffin tin and press down and to the sides lightly. Freeze the tins with dough for 20-30 minutes, meanwhile pre-heating your oven to 450F. When ready, fill each tart with the custard filling, leaving some space at the top so it doesn’t overflow. Bake for about 20 minutes. Tarts are done when the shells look golden brown and the top of the custard has some of those signature blackened spots. let cool for 10 minutes, then remove from muffin tins, let it cool, then eat ’em up!

Some Notes. . .  

1. Save your egg whites to make meringue! I cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator up to two days. 

2. You can always make the puff pastry ahead of time and store in the freezer, wrapped in plastic wrap for up to a few weeks. 

If you like this recipe, you might want to try. . .

1. Summer Fruit tarts

2. Blood orange and berry tart

Tried this Recipe?

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Pasteis de Nata (Portuguese Custard Tarts)

A buttery and flaky puff pastry filled with a cinnamon-y egg custard!
Prep Time1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Refrigeration1 d
Total Time1 d 1 hr 50 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Portuguese
Keyword: pasteis de nata, Portuguese custard tart

Ingredients

Puff pastry dough

  • cup butter room temperature
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • cup flour plus extra for flouring surfaces

Custard Filling

  • cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • tsp cinnamon
  • cup flour
  • cup milk
  • 9 egg yolks

Instructions

Puff Pastry Dough

  • Cut butter into small cubes and set aside. Meanwhile, whisk the flour and salt together in a large bowl and pour into your stand mixer.
  • With the paddle attachment on low, add one-two cubes of butter at a time until it starts to come together and clump somewhat. Add in the water and continue mixing (increase speed), until the dough forms into a ball. This should only take a minute or less. Do not overmix.
  • Flour the surface you will be using to roll the dough out. If the dough is sticky, you will need to add extra flour. Knead the dough for about a minute, then roll it out into a large rectangle, about 2 feet long. 
  • Fold the dough in thirds. Then turn it 90 degrees, roll it out and fold it in thirds again. Repeat 5 more times. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Custard Filling

  • Before beginning your filling, remove your dough from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.
  • Now for the custard, add the cinnamon, sugar, and water to a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Whisk together the flour and 1/2 cup milk. Heat the remaining milk in a saucepan until it just starts to boil. Then remove from heat and pour into the milk/flour mixture.
  • Add in the sugar/cinnamon/water mixture to the milk/flour mixture. Pour back into a saucepan and return to the stove and simmer while whisking until the custard thickens. Once it is thickened, add all the egg yolks into the mixture and mix well, then remove from heat. Strain this custard through a strainer.

Assembly

  • Lightly flour your work surface, and cut your puff pastry dough in half. Roll out each half your into a rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick.
  • Starting from the smaller side, roll the rectangle into a roll. Repeat for the second piece. Freeze for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from freezer and cut into 36-40 disks.
  • Use your rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to roll each disk into a 1/4 inch thick flat circle.
  • Place each circle into a pre-buttered muffin tin and press down and to the sides lightly. Preheat oven to 450F. Freeze the tins with dough for 20-30 minutes.
  • Remove from freezer and fill each tart with the custard filling, leaving some space at the top so it doesn't overflow. Bake for about 20 minutes. Tarts are done when they look golden brown and the top of the custard has some of those signature blackened spots. Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove from muffin tins and let cool before enjoying.

Notes

  1. If you have extra puff pastry dough, it will keep for a few weeks wrapped tightly in plastic wrap in the freezer. 

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