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Pastel De Nata Recipe- Delicious Portuguese Egg Custard Tard in 3 Hours

Pastel De Nata Recipe- Delicious Portuguese Egg Custard Tard in 3 Hours

If you like Mediterranean food and pastries, this recipe is for you. In this post, we’ll share our pastel de nata recipe and teach you everything there is to know about this delicious Portuguese custard tart, including its origins, history, local variations, serving tips, and more.

But first things first…

What Is Pastel De Nata?

pastel de nata recipe

Pastel de nata is a Portuguese puff pastry filled with egg custard and topped with powdered sugar and cinnamon. These pastries are prepared by baking, often until the top is scorched. Many people also refer to this pastry as Pastel de Belem which is a name patented by a popular bakery in Lisbon but you can get more details about this below (in the variations section). For now, let’s proceed with…

Origins Of Pastel De Nata

pastel de nata make at home

The pastel de nata recipe originates somewhere between the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The pastry was created by the Catholic monks of the Jeronimos Monastery. They used egg whites to starch clothing and fabrics and used the leftover yolks to make some cakes and pastries. One of the pastries that were created this way was the soon-to-be-famous pastel de nata.

However, after the Liberal Revolution of the 1820s, this monastery (like many others) saw some hardship due to lack of funding. This eventually led to the monastery selling the pastel de nata recipe to a sugar refinery whose owners decided to open a bakery in Lisbon and the rest is…

History

pastel de nata portugal

The bakery that was created by the sugar refinery was Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém in Lisbon, a bakery that still operates to this day and is still run by the original owners’ descendants. Ever since the bakery was opened, the original pastel de nata recipe is kept in a secret room, only a few people know it, and it remains unchanged to this day.

The store is located only a few minutes away from Jeronimos Monastery (yes, the very same one that sold them the recipe) and sells more than 22,000 pasteis de nata per day! In 2009, The Guardian included this pastry in their “50 best things to eat in the world” and in 2011, the pastel de Belem was chosen as one of Portugal’s Seven Wonders of Gastronomy via a public vote.

Needless to say, Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém is probably the best place to try this pastry but there are a few other bakeries where you can find similar variations in some other places too, which brings us to the next point…

Variations

egg custard tart recipe

Some might argue that the pastries you get at Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém are in a class of their own but we should also note that the generic term to describe this pastry is pasteis de nata while pasteis de Belem is a term that has become mainstream due to the popularity of the bakery that owns the original recipe. To this day, this is the most famous place to try this delicious pastry but it’s not the only one.

And since only a handful of people know the original recipe, it’s safe to assume that the pasteis de nata you’d get in other bakeries or street food vendors are slightly different than the original but the differences are very small.

In addition to this, you can also find a lot of regional variations of the pastel de nata recipe. For example, in France, they have flans pâtissiers that are very similar to the pastel de nata. Another country that has its own popular egg custard tart is Romania, where the pastry is known Alivenci and has a similar texture but a rectangular shape instead of the original circle.

Variations of the pastel de nata recipe are also available in some of the former Portuguese colonies like Japan (they call it castella), Indonesia (they call it pai susu), and Macau where you can even get pastel de nata in the local KFC.

Serving

pastel de nata serving

Pastel de Nata is usually served as dessert but it can also be eaten as a snack alongside a cup of tea or coffee. The most common toppings are powdered sugar (or brown sugar) and cinnamon but from my personal experience, feel free to get creative with the toppings; anything is fine as long as it satisfies your craving. You can also combine this pastry with a Portuguese sandwich like francesinha or bifana to make a nice, hearty meal.

Storing

We recommend eating these pastries as soon as you make them but if you want to store them for later, that’s an option too. However, considering the fact that eggs are a key ingredient of the pastel de nata recipe, we don’t recommend storing pastel de nata for more than five days. However, keep in mind that if you do store them for a few days, the dough will lose some of its distinctive crispy texture. That’s why it’s best to make small batches that you can enjoy within a day or two.

Technically, you can also freeze the pastries and keep them in your freezer for up to a month but when you defrost them, their texture and even flavor will be very different, so although possible, we don’t recommend this option either.

Preparation Tips

egg custard tart recipe portuguese
  • Make sure the butter is evenly spread, all extra unneeded flour is removed, and the dough is rolled very thin.
  • You also have to make sure the dough has the exact consistency mentioned in the recipe card. If necessary, add more butter as you go to get to that point.
  • You can use store-bought dough but you won’t end up with the real deal. The final result will not be nearly as authentic.
  • Making the filling doesn’t consist of only dumping the ingredients and mixing everything. Creating creamy custard that’s also light at the same time is a delicate process. Two things are key for making the perfect filling- heating and timing.
  • Last but not least, it’s recommended that you get a cooking thermometer to accurately gauge the custard.

A Few Other Things You Might Need

Yield: 30 pastries

Pastel De Nata Recipe

egg custard tart recipe

In this post, we’ll share our pastel de nata recipe and teach you everything there is to know about this delicious Portuguese custard tart, including its origins, history, local variations, serving tips, and more.

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients

Pastry

  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Water (minus 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 sticks Unsalted Butter (8 oz) at room temperature
  • 1/3 teaspoon Sea Salt

Custard

  • 3 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
  • 160 ml Water (2/3 cup)
  • 6 Egg Yolks, whisked
  • 300 ml Milk (1 and ¼ cup)
  • 200 grams Granulated Sugar (7 oz)
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • ½ teaspoon Vanilla Powder
  • 1 Lemon Peel, cut into strips

Garnish

  • Powdered Sugar (use as much as you want)
  • ½ teaspoon Cinnamon Powder per pastry

Instructions

Preparing the dough

1. Use a stand mixer with a dough hook to mix the flour, salt, and water until a soft dough forms; it should pull away from the side of the bowl.

2. Add some flour on your work surface and gently pat the dough into a 15-cm (6-inch) square. You can use a pastry scraper for this.

3. Cover the dough with a wrap and let it rest for 15 minutes.

4. Roll the dough into a 45-cm square (18-inch). Continuously use the pastry scraper to make sure your dough isn’t sticking.

5. Use a pastry brush to brush off the flour from the top of the dough and trim any uneven edges (if any).

6. Use a small spatula to dot and spread the remaining portion of the dough (it should be roughly two-thirds).

7. Next, brush one-third of the remaining butter on the remaining dough while leaving 25 mm (1 inch) of plain border around the edges.

8. Fold the unbuttered part of the dough over the buttered part of the dough and brush any excess flour; help: for this, you can use the scraper to loosen the dough if sticky.

9. Pat down the dough from the top with your hand to release any potential air bubbles.

10. Pinch the edges and seal the dough. Use the brush to remove any excess flour again.

11. Flour your work surface and roll out the dough into a 45-cm (18-inch) square and dot the remaining dough with one-third of the remaining butter and fold the dough the same way it was described in steps 8-10.

12. Now we have one last rolling. Again, flour your work surface and roll out the dough into a 45-cm (18-inch) square, spread the remaining butter on the remaining dough, and fold the dough the same way it was described in steps 8-10.

13. Use the spatula to lift the edge of the dough closest to you and roll the dough into a tight log. Don’t forget to brush off the excess flour as you go.

14. Trim the ends and cut the log in half.

15. Wrap every piece in plastic wrap and let it chill for at least 2 hours (or preferably overnight).

Making the custard

16. Grab a mixing bowl and whisk the flour and 1/4 cup of milk until you get a smooth mixture

17. Boil the sugar, cinnamon, and water in a small saucepan and cook until the thermometer shows 105°C (220 °F). It’s important that you don’t stir this mixture.

18. Remove the cinnamon stick from the first saucepan and pour the remaining mixture together with the sugar syrup and the vanilla into the dough mixture. Stir for 1 minute.

19. Whisk in the yolks and strain the mixture into a bowl.

20. Cover the custard with a wrap and set it aside. The custard can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.

Making the pastries

21. Prepare an oven rack and preheat your oven to 290°C (550°F).

22. Grab the dough from the fridge and flour your work surface.

23. Roll the dough back and forth until it’s about 25 mm in diameter (1 inch) and 40 cm long (16 inches).

24. Cut the dough into 18 mm pieces (3/4 inch).

25. Place one piece of pastry dough and cut it down in a non-stick mini-muffin pan (50mm by 15 mm or 2 inches by 5/8 inch). If you want to, you can also use a standard-size muffin pan.

26. Let the pastry dough soften for a few minutes.

27. Dip your thumb in a cup of water, press in the middle of the dough, and press outwards in the form of a raised lip above the pan to give the pastry its characteristic shape.

28. Fill every cup up to ¾ full with the custard.

29. Bake the pastries until the top side gets brown. If you’re making mini-muffins, this should take 9-10 minutes at the above-mentioned temperature. For standard muffins, it will take 15-16 minutes.

30. When done, remove the pastry from the oven and let it cool down.

31. Sprinkle some powdered sugar and cinnamon, serve it with a cup of coffee, and enjoy!

Nutrition Information:

Serving Size:

1 pastry

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 261Total Fat: 7.1gSaturated Fat: 6.2gTrans Fat: 0.1gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 101mgSodium: 117mgCarbohydrates: 37.5gNet Carbohydrates: 37.5gFiber: 1gSugar: 25gProtein: 4.5g

Did you ever try pastel de nata? How did you like our recipe? If you tried to make it at home, don’t forget to leave us a rating and if you have any questions, feel free to share them in the comments below.

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