Pasteis de Nata-Portugal

As I said in my post from this past week’s food travels, I wanted to separately blog about the dessert I made, pasteis de nata which in English translates to egg custard tarts. They are Portugal’s most famous sweet concoction and are extremely popular in its former colonies (Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Sao Tome among others).

It is believed that the recipe for pasteis de nata dates back more than 200 years to the nuns who baked the pastries at the Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon. In the capital city, the Antiga Confeitaria de Belem, a beloved cafe and pastry shop, is the originator of them except there they are known as pasteis de Belem (it is everywhere else that calls them pasteis de nata). Some people even claim that if they were not made at the Antiga Confeitaria de Belem they are imposters.

Although I’m sure my version hardly compares to the real thing, it still managed to lull me into a happy foodie bliss. As the recipe called for puff pastry to use as the shells, it really wasn’t too time consuming to make the filling.

Pasteis de Nata (Portuguese Custard Tarts)

(recipe courtesy of

1 cup milk

3 tablespoons corn starch

1/2 vanilla bean (substitute with vanilla extract if you don’t have a bean)

1 cup white sugar

6 egg yolks

1 (17.5 ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups and and line bottoms and sides with puff pastry.

In a saucepan, combine milk, cornstarch, sugar and vanilla. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Place egg yolks in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk 1/2 cup of hot milk mixture into egg yolks. Gradually add egg yolk mixture back to remaining milk mixture, whisking constantly. Cook, stirring constantly, for five minutes, or until thickened. Remove vanilla bean.

Fill pastry-lined muffin cups with mixture and bake in pre-heated oven for 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and filling is lightly browned on top.

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