My parents are originally from Portugal so I grew up on pasteis de nata and lucky for me my mom is a master in the kitchen so my pasteis de nata were always homemade. Pasteis de nata have forever been a part of our dessert table and usually a special request from anybody that invited us over to their place because we never arrived empty handed.
Pasteis de nata are the quintessential Portuguese pastry and I think of them as the Portuguese donut. You’ll find them everywhere in Portugal and I freakin’ love them. One of my favourite moments when I get to Portugal is to enjoy a pastel de nata and a Sumol, weird combo but Portuguese perfection! They’re also known as Pasteis de Belém but at my house we always called them pasteis de nata.
These are the tastiest little tarts you’ll ever sink your teeth into and the ingredients are staples everyone has at home: egg yolks, milk, flour, and sugar.
This is my mom’s recipe and you’ll find recipes all over the place but I can tell you that this one is tried and true and if you follow it, you’ll get a killer treat and a total crowd pleaser.
I have the classic Portuguese molds because my mom is awesome like that and every time she went to Portugal she made sure to pick me up a dozen or two! You can make these in cupcake tins but make sure not to make them in the gigantic tins; the classic dozen-muffin tin will do just fine.
I also don’t bother to make puff pastry cause as if I could even do that. There is great store bought puff pastry in Spain so it’s a no brainer for me. Just try to get the best quality puff pastry you can find and you’ll be good to go. I’m warning you that once you get the hang of these you’ll be “stuck” making them so don’t say I didn’t tell you so.
- 500 ml / 2 cups whole milk
- 2-3 pieces of lemon rind
- 4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 190 gr / 1 cup granulated sugar
- 40 gr / 5 Tbsp. all purpose flour, unbleached
- Puff pastry (see note 2)
- Preheat oven to a very high temperature, about 250°C/480°F (the oven has to be very hot when you start to bake the pasteis de nata).
- Heat the milk and lemon rind over medium heat until the milk is infused with the lemon, approximately 8 minutes.
- Mix the flour and sugar in a large plastic bowl. I don't recommend a metal/glass bowl because the mixture will take longer to cool down in these types of bowls.
- Strain the milk mixture and slowly add it to the flour and sugar while beating. You want to make sure there are no clumps in this mixture.
- Set aside the milk mixture and let cool until the mixture is warm/room temperature. Follow step 6 while waiting for the mixture to cool down.
- Cut your puff pastry to fit your muffin/cupcake moulds and line your moulds with the puff pastry. You should cover your puff pastry with a slightly damp cloth so it doesn't dry out before baking.
- Add the egg yolks to the cooled down milk mixture and beat until combined. Make sure your milk mixture isn't too hot because the egg yolks will coddle (not a good thing).
- Pour the filling into the moulds leaving about a finger from the top of the puff pastry.
- Set on the middle rack of the oven and bake on high for about 15 minutes and then lower the oven temperature to 200°C/390°F and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the puff pastry is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. If the pastries aren't toasted/charred on top use the broil setting on the oven and watch very closely until they are toasted.
- Let cool on a cooling rack.
- Once cool, remove the tarts from the moulds with the help of a butter/cutlery knife.
- 1. The original recipe uses metric measurements. Ideally metric measurements are the best for baking however I've converted the measurements to volume for convenience.
- 2. The amount of puff pastry will depend on how big your moulds are. I bought two pieces of puff pastry that weighed 230 grams each and measured approximately 33 cm (l) by 25 cm (h).
- 3. These are best the day of because the puff pastry loses it's flakiness as time goes by. Also only store them once they are completely cool or else they'll get soggy.