Portuguese Custard Tarts (Pasteis de Nata)

by 247tasty

Prep time: 1 hr | Cook: 25 min | Total: 4 hrs | Additional: 2 hrs 35 min | Servings: 12 | Yield: 12 tarts

Portuguese Custard Tarts is a deliciously flaky dessert that migrated to Macau and became a favorite in the local area. This custard tart recipe yields buttery, sweet tarts with an aromatic custard that is baked until it is just scorched on top.


For the Dough:

1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp kosher salt
⅓ cup of cold water
(1) stick high-quality unsalted butter, fully softened, divided

For the Sugar Syrup:

¾ cup white sugar
¼ cup of water
1 tbsp water
(1) cinnamon stick (optional)
(1) lemon, zested in large strips (optional)

For the Custard Base:

⅓ cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp kosher salt
1 ½ cups milk
(6) large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)


1. Add and combine the flour, salt, and cold water in a bowl. Then, mix it with a wooden spoon until the dough just comes together and pulls away from the sides, the dough must be sticky. If necessary, adjust with adding more flour or water to achieve the desired consistency.

2. Transfer the dough onto a well-floured surface. Dust the flour a little more over the top. Knead for a minute or two to form around. Cover and let stand for 15-20 minutes.

3. Roll the dough about 1/8 inch thick square, dust as required with flour; the dough will still be sticky.

4. Spread the 1/3 of the butter over 2/3 of the square using a silicone spatula, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Flip unbuttered side over the middle of the square and fold the opposite end over it like a letter. Straighten the edges as needed.

5. Turn the dough using a bench scraper to unstick it from the counter; dust with flour. Flip and sprinkle more flour on top. Roll dough into a rectangle about 1/8-inch-thick, and carefully stretching edges as needed. Spread another 1/3 of the butter over 2/3 of the dough. Fold into thirds. Move it to a lined baking sheet and freeze until butter is slightly chilled for 10 minutes.

6. Add and sprinkle dough with flour and roll into a square a little over 1/8 inch thick. Spread remaining butter over the dough, and leave a 1- to 1 1/2-inch border on the top edge. For the unbuttered edge, dip your finger in the water and moisten the edges.

7. Add and combine sugar, 1/4 cup plus a tbsp of water, cinnamon, and lemon zest in a pot. Boil it over medium heat, without stirring, until syrup reaches 210 to 215 degrees F (100 degrees C). Remove from heat.

8. Preheat the oven about 550 degrees F (288 degrees C). Grease a 12-cup muffin tin.

9. Whisk flour, salt, and cold milk together very thoroughly in a cold pot. Cook over medium heat until milk thickens, for 5 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and let cool for at least 10 minutes.

10. Whisk egg yolks into the cooled milk. Add the sugar syrup and vanilla extract, then mix until combined. Strain the custard into a glass measuring cup.

11. Unwrap dough and trim any uneven bits on the ends. Score the log into 12 even pieces using a knife; cut through.

12. Add and place a piece of dough in each muffin cup. Lightly dip your thumb in some cold water. Then, press your thumb in the swirl into the center. Push the dough against the bottom and up the sides of the cup until it reaches past the top least 1/8 inch. Fill each cup with 3/4 of the way custard.

13. In a preheated oven, bake for 12 minutes until the pastry turns brown and bubbly, and the tops start to blister and caramelize. Let it cool briefly and serve warm.


If desired, you can add lemon, cinnamon, and vanilla, which are considered optional ingredients.
Instead of using a cinnamon stick, you can use 1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon.

Nutrition Facts:

Per Serving: 210 calories; 98 mg sodium; 25.2 g carbohydrates; 3.9 g protein; 10.6 g total fat; 125 mg cholesterol.

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