Pasteis de Nata

First Time Making Pasteis de Nata
Recently a friend visited Portugal. While there she sent an email raving about a pastry called Pastel de Nata (Pasteis is the plural). Of course I had to look for a recipe and give it a try! There are many recipes online, with variations, so I chose one that appealed to me.

Of course I tweaked it before even trying it. The results were delicious! And I've figured out what I'm going to do different the next time (which will be soon)

Here's what you need:
Ingredients. Forgot the milk for the photo

1 package of frozen puff pastry (next time I might be brave enough to make my own from scratch)

1 cup milk or cream
3 TBSP cornstarch
1/2 tsp vanilla (the original recipe called for vanilla bean which I don't have)
1 cup sugar (I used icing sugar)
6 egg yolks (I guess you better whip up an egg white omelet or a merangue or even better - Pavlova with those 6 egg whites)
I also added one cinnamon stick

Icing sugar and cinnamon for dusting

I made the custard filling first, then while it cooled, I made the puff pastry cups.

Saucepan with custard ingredients
Custard Filling:

In a saucepan combine cornstarch, milk, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon stick. Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened.

Egg Separator
Separate the egg yolks from the whites. I usually use my fingers to separate yolk from white but I couldn't do that and take a photo so here I am using my egg separator.

Mix the egg yolks in a separate bowl and add a little bit of the hot custard to the yolks. Stir then slowly add the warm yolks back into the saucepan.

I should have stopped here
Stir and cook for about 5 minutes or until thick. Mine thickened quite fast and I wasn't ready for it so I think next time I'd cook them a little less so that when baked in the oven they aren't mounds of custard but nice and flat and even.

Thick custard

Remove the cinnamon stick. Set custard aside to cool a bit while you roll out the pastry.

Using lots of flour, roll out the pastry into a big square (or two big squares). Cut into 12 equal squares. Dust off the excess flour! I used a basting brush for this.

Grease a muffin pan (12 medium). I used a spray canola oil.

Lots of flour on these pastry squares!

Dusting off Excess Flour
Fill each muffin cup with a square of pastry. Push it down into the cup (don't rip the bottom) and gently pull the sides up to create a nice cup of pastry. Roll any excess under for a slight lip.

Fill about 3/4 full with the custard. Mine was pretty thick so it didn't lie flat and when cooked it was in mounds but oh boy was it good!

Bake in 375' oven for about 20 minutes until pastry is golden. I baked mine about 23 minutes and they were perfect. Next time I think I might use a little propane burner to caramelize the top.

Ready for the oven

Dusted and ready to eat!

Let pastries sit about 5 minutes after you take them out of the oven, then sprinkle on icing sugar and cinnamon before you gently remove them from the muffin pan.

These are addictive! Best eaten warm. I discovered if you refrigerate them and microwave them for 12 seconds they warm up quite nicely.

Serve with tea or coffee. Delicious!

Next time I plan on rolling the dough out differently (into a log) so I can cut 12 slices and then form each into a nice cup before putting into the muffin pan. It won't affect the taste but I just want to try getting a slightly different appearance to the final Pastel de Nata.


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