Pastéis de Nata (Portuguese Custard Tarts)

Kieran and I went to Portugal recently for the weekend with my aunt and uncle, which was a lot of fun – and also the perfect opportunity to stuff my face with these. I LOVE a portuguese custard tart.

The only place you can get decent ones here is, bizzarely, a chinese bakery in town, so I thought I’d make my own.

They are  completely different from egg custard tarts – I’d never made custard this way before and I was concerned when I tasted it that it was far too sweet. However, when baked and tasted with the pastry, it was perfect.

They puffed a lot when they were baked, but as they cool they settle back into the pastry normally and the custard has a lovely sheen.

Recipe adapted from Victor Felisberto from Portal Restaurant, published in Olive magazine.

  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • 2 slices lemon
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 250 semi skimmed milk
  • 30g plain flour
  • 20g cornflour
  • few drops vanilla extract
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • 375g puff pastry
  1. Tip the sugar, lemon and cinnamon into a pan with 125ml water and bring to the boil.
  2. Mix the flour, cornflour and vanilla with a small amount of milk into a paste.
  3. Boil the rest of the milk and pour onto the paste, mixing. Pour back into the pan and simmer, whisking until the mixture is thick.
  4. Remove the cinnamon and lemon and add the sugar to the pan.
  5. Add the eggs and bring back to a simmer, whisking until smooth.
  6. Pour into a jug, cover with cling film and cool.
  7. Heat the oven to 220c/fan200c/gas7 and heat a baking tray in the bottom of the oven.
  8. Roll out the puff pastry , lightly dusted with flour and icing sugar.
  9. Cut the pastry in half and lay one sheet on top of the other.
  10. Roll the pastry sheets up like a swiss roll and cut 12 slices approx 1-2cm thick.
  11. Roll each slice into 10cm discs. Press each disc into the wells of a buttered muffin tray. Divide the custard between the pastry cases.
  12. Bake them for 18-20 mins on the preheated baking sheet or until the custard has puffed up and the pastry is cooked and golden brown.
  13. Cool in the tin and serve with a dusting of cinnamon and icing sugar.