Good morning, foodies! If you’re on the hunt for a delightful and traditional breakfast that doubles as dessert, you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’re journeying to the heart of Portuguese cuisine with the iconic Pastéis de Nata, or Portuguese custard tarts. Warm, creamy, and encased in a crispy puff pastry shell, these tarts are the perfect start to any day.
For the Custard:
- 1 tablespoon cornflour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 1/4 cups caster sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 lemon, zested
- 6 egg yolks
For the Pastry:
- 2 cups plain flour
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 3/4 cup water
- 200g unsalted butter, room temperature, not spreadable
- Make the Custard: Dissolve the cornflour in 1/4 cup of milk in a bowl and set aside. Combine the sugar, cinnamon, and lemon zest with 3/4 cup of water in a saucepan. Stir the mixture over low heat until the sugar dissolves and you get a clear syrup.
- Add the dissolved cornflour mixture to the syrup and stir well. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly add the rest of the milk, while stirring. Remove the cinnamon stick and lemon zest.
- Lightly whisk the egg yolks in a bowl and add them to the milk mixture. Cook over low heat and stir constantly until thickened.
- Make the Pastry: Mix the flour with the salt, then add water and mix until the dough is firm. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle, spread one-third of the butter over two-thirds of the dough. Fold the dough into three sections, like a business letter. Turn the dough 90 degrees and roll it out again into a rectangle. Repeat the process twice more.
- Cut the dough in half and chill for at least 2 hours. Then, roll out each piece of dough and cut into circles to fit your tart tins.
- Preheat the oven to 290°C (550°F). Pour the cooled custard into the pastry cases, but don’t fill them to the top as the custard will puff up in the oven.
- Bake the tarts for about 12 minutes, until the pastry is golden and crisp, and the tops of the custard have darkened.
- Allow the tarts to cool for a few minutes in the pan, then transfer to a rack and sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon, if desired.
With this recipe, you can enjoy a slice of Portugal’s culinary heritage right in your kitchen. Perfect for breakfast or a mid-afternoon treat, these Pastéis de Nata are sure to delight. Happy baking, and as we say in Portugal, “Bom proveito!”