I LOVE custard. The English have made it a Sunday staple accompanying scrumptious home-made crumble. The French have added a twist of sophistication à la crème anglaise. The Portuguese, however, have quite simply taken this liquid gold to a whole new level by infusing it with cinnamon and lemon zest, then baking it in a golden, crumbly puff pastry case. Heaven.
After scouring the numerous recipes Google had to offer me, I formed an image in mind of what I wanted to create. So I took the basic custard recipe from this blog: http://www.syrupandtang.com/200811/pasteis-de-nata-portuguese-custard-tarts/ and then enriched it with cinnamon, vanilla, a little more lemon.
It’s hard to think of a tastier treat to indulge in on a sunny March afternoon – ENJOY
- 300g puff pastry (What a perfect way to use up that puff pastry from the January Bake)
- 22g plain flour
- 160g sugar
- 3 egg yolks + one whole egg
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- ¼ tsp vanilla bean paste (this is my new obsession – but if you don’t have it vanilla extract will do)
- Lemon rind from half a lemon
- 300ml milk
Preheat your oven as high as it will go, I baked these at 250ᵒC fan (the traditional tarts are made at temperatures of 300-350ᵒC)
Roll out the puff pastry into a rectangle of roughly 20 by 10 cm; it should be about 4-5mm thick.
Roll this up into a log, starting on the short edge (so the long ends should turn into the spiral ends). Wrap this in cling film and place it in the fridge to stay cool whilst you make the custard.
Put the milk, cinnamon and lemon in a pan and bring slowly to the boil. Pour the milk through a sieve into a jug to retrieve the lemon rind and cinnamon sticks.
Sift the flour and sugar into a large bowl. In a separate bowl beat the egg yolks and whole egg together. Pour a small amount of the milk into the flour and sugar and whisk into a paste. Slowly pour in the rest of the milk, whisking all the time to prevent lumps.
Add a couple of spoonfuls of the milk to the eggs, again whisking whilst you do so. Then pour the eggs into the milk. Whisk AGAIN, and pour the finished custard back into the jug. Refrigerate.
Take the pastry log back out of the fridge and cut it into 1cm disks. Flatten the disks into the cupcake tray, working from the middle out. The pastry should be pretty thin. I recommend testing two or three to start with to check the oven temperature, and to slightly adjust the cooking time. Pour in the custard leaving at least half a cm at the top.
Bake for 8-12 minutes depending on how high your oven goes.
The finished tarts should be golden, with dark caramelised spots on the surface. As much as you’ll want to dive in straight away, these are HOT so be careful!