It was love at first bite when I encountered one of these beauties in Portugal while on a work retreat 4 years ago – they are a custard tart pastry delight. Give me one and a cup of coffee and I’m pretty much ready to tackle anything and consequently they’re definitely on my approved pre-breakfast foodstuffs list. There are many different recipes out there, some use cream, some a more traditional custard, but what I like about this particular recipe is the stability of the custard – you’re unlikely to end up with a scrambled egg tart here (thanks BBC good food!). Btw in case you’re wondering, word nerds, pasteis de nata is the plural, pastel de nata is the singular. Makes 12.
1 pack ready rolled puff pastry
120g caster sugar
1 large egg + 2 extra yolks
2 tbsp cornflour
400ml whole milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
- Make the filling – you need to leave it to cool before you use it.
- Put the egg, yolks, sugar and cornflour into a saucepan and mix well.
- Gradually add the milk, stirring all the time. I start with a wooden spoon then switch to a balloon whisk. Keep stirring/whisking until you’ve mixed in all of the milk.
- Start heating the custard gently at first, stirring all the time, until it thickens and comes to the boil
- Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla, cover with a piece of greaseproof paper or clingfilm directly on the surface of the custard (so it doesn’t form a skin) and leave to cool completely.
- Heat oven to 180C Fan.
- Grease a 12 hole muffin tin, and cut strips of greaseproof paper to lay in each hole (you’ll use these to lift out the pastries easily later).
- Unwrap the pastry and cut lengthwise in two. Lay one piece on top of the other, then roll it up tightly into a sausage from the short end.
- Cut into 12 rounds, then roll each round into a roughly 10cm disc. Place each disc into the muffin tin, flexing the pastry to sit neatly in the hole – you might have some overlaps, that’s fine.
- Spoon in the cooled custard, then bake for 25 minutes until the tops start to brown.
- Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then use the greaseproof strips to lift out the pastries easily – cool further on a wire rack.
- Grab a coffee and be very happy that you’ve made them.