If you've ever visited Portugal you would surely have enjoyed one or more of these Portuguese custard tarts, or pastel de natas, made with puff pastry and filled with a lemony, spicy egg custard. We've plumped for shop-bought puff pastry in an effort to keep the prep time down but you could of course make your own if the fancy takes you! These lovely little pastel de natas are best eaten on the day they're made (when their buttery smell is still lingering in your kitchen!) but will keep for a couple more days if stored in an air-tight tin.
- 175g golden caster sugar
- 2 lemon slices
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 30g plain flour
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- Few drops of vanilla extract
- 200ml semi-skimmed milk
- 3 medium egg yolks
- 375g pack puff pastry sheet
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- ½ level tsp cinnamon
- You will need
- 7.5cm round cutter
- Baking tray
- 12-hole muffin tin, greased
Heat the oven to 220°C/Gas Mark 7. Put in a baking tray to heat up. Put the sugar, lemon slices and cinnamon sticks in a pan with 100ml water and bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 mins.
Mix the flour, cornflour and vanilla with 3 tbsp milk. Pour the rest into the pan and bring to the boil, then pour some of it into the flour mixture, whisking to combine. Return mixture to the pan and simmer, stirring until thickened and smooth.
Remove the lemon slices and cinnamon stick from the sugar syrup. Gradually pour the syrup into the custard, whisking well. Turn off the heat and whisk in the egg yolks. Cool for 5 mins.
Unroll the pastry sheet on a surface lightly dusted with flour and icing sugar. Using a rolling pin, roll out the pastry to the thickness of a 2p piece.
Stamp out 12 x 7.5cm rounds with a cutter (you may need to re-roll the pastry to cut out the final two). Ease the pastry rounds into the muffin tins.
Pour the custard into the pastry cases. Put the muffin tin on the preheated baking sheet. Bake for 20 mins, until the pastry is crisp and the tops golden. Cool in the tin and dust with icing sugar and cinnamon to serve.
Top tip for making Pastel de natas
The tarts can be frozen, but when thawed, they are best warmed through.