Nick got a new job. Yay! We'll actually both be working one the same site when I go back to work in October and Matilda will be at nursery there as well so it's worked out pretty well. He started yesterday but for his last day at his old job he requested egg custard tarts to take in. He bloody loves a good custard tart. Me being me I wanted to mix it up slightly and have a go at some Portuguese custard tarts for him. I've never tried proper pastel de nata but I really enjoyed my attempt so I can only guess how nice the real thing is. They won't win any beauty contests but they taste great.
I used ready made pastry, I've said before how much I love it and I really struggle for time at the moment so that's how I justify using the ready made stuff. So really, all you need to do for this recipe is make a custard, which is so much more straightforward than a lot of people imagine. I find custard making quite relaxing as well but maybe that's just me.
I didn't change much in the recipe because it didn't really need changing but I added three strips of lemon peel and some cinnamon to the custard as it was cooking and sprinkled cinnamon all over one side of the pastry. I initially tried a different custard recipe and, once out of the oven, the custard had reduced far too much and there wasn't enough left in the cases so I decided to play with another egg custard recipe which produced a greater volume and I was much happier. It's safe to say a fair few custard tarts have been eaten in our kitchen this week.
Pastel de Nata
(custard recipe tweaked minimally from
1x 375g pack all butter puff pastry, ready rolled
ground cinnamon, for sprinkling
7 egg yolks
90g caster sugar
300ml double cream
400ml whole milk
3 long strips of lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, plus extra for sprinkling
20g unsalted butter
- Remove your pastry from the fridge 10 minutes before you're ready to start. Grease a 12 hole muffin tin and preheat the oven to 200 C / 400 F / Gas Mark 6.
- Roll out your pastry a little thinner and sprinkle one side with ground cinnamon.
- Cut out 12 circles with a 9.5cm cutter and press - cinnamon side down - into each hole in the muffin tray.
- To make the custard, warm the milk and cream in a pan with the lemon peel, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a large bowl whisk the egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy.
- When the milk is just hot, remove the lemon peel and slowly pour over the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Add the butter and keep whisking until it has melted. The top will look foamy with little bubbles.
- Transfer the custard to a jug and pour into each pastry case. Fill right to the top - this will probably be easier to do whilst the tray is on the oven shelf - and sprinkle with a little extra nutmeg.
- Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 180 C / 350 F / Gas Mark 4 after 10 minutes. Remove from the oven when golden and slightly caramelised on top.