Pasteis de Natas

2016-04-04 18.25.18
So I don’t usually tackle pastry…or custard. But my boyfriend loves these little Portuguese custard tarts that he used to have on holiday in Lisbon when he was small, so I decided to have a go (and just not tell him if they were rubbish). Predictably, considering my lack of pastry finesse, they nearly went to plan the first time; they tasted amazing, but the custard didn’t quite create the right consistency when baked and to achieve the mottled, almost brûléed top and I think I overcooked the puff pastry a little to try and achieve this.

Here’s some pictures of the first attempt:   

But the second attempt went well!!!! It’s all about getting the custard right. My first batch flopped down when I removed them from the heat, while the second batch stayed up resulting in tasty, creamy custard in flaky pasty – delish! I can’t recall doing anything differently, just make sure to keep an eye on the time and don’t keep the custard at the desired temperature for too long on the hob. 🙂


  • 1 pack of puff-pastry
  • 3 tablespoons plain flour
  • 300ml milk, divided
  • 300g granulated sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 160ml water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 large egg yolks, whisked

The pastry

I fully admit I cheated. I can’t see the point of making my own puff pastry when it takes half a lifetime and often goes wrong, ruining the whole batch. So I used shop-bought puff pastry…from Tesco, no regrets!

Make the custard

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and 60ml of the milk until smooth. Set aside.

Bring the sugar, cinnamon, and water to a boil in a small saucepan and cook until an instant-read thermometer registers 220°F (100°C). Do not stir.

Meanwhile, in another small saucepan, scald the remaining milk. Whisk the hot milk into the flour mixture.

Remove the cinnamon stick then pour the sugar syrup in a thin stream into the hot milk-and-flour mixture, whisking briskly. Add the vanilla and stir for a minute until very warm but not hot. Whisk in the yolks, strain the mixture into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside.

Assemble and bake the pastries

Heat the oven to  about 290°C. Remove a pastry log from the refrigerator and roll it back and forth on a lightly floured surface until it’s about an inch in diameter. Cut it into around 3-4cm pieces. Place a piece cut-side down in each well of a non-stick 12 mini-muffin pan and allow the dough pieces to soften several minutes until pliable.

Have a small cup of water nearby. Dip your thumbs into the water, then straight down into the middle of the dough spiral. Flatten it against the bottom of the cup to a thickness of about 1/8 inch (3mm), then smooth the dough up the sides and create a raised lip about 1/8 inch above the pan. The pastry sides should be thinner than the bottom.

Fill each cup 3/4 full with the slightly warm custard. Bake the pasteis until the edges of the dough are frilled and brown, about 8 to 9 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow the pasteis to cool a few minutes in the pan, then transfer to a rack and cool until just warm. Sprinkle the pasteis generously with powdered sugar, then cinnamon and serve. Repeat with the remaining pastry and custard.

2016-04-04 18.25.18


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