Portugese Custard Tarts, why not?

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This week I made Portuguese Custard tarts. They’re not something I bake frequently. I’ve no idea why, as they were absolutely delicious, just as always. I guess they are a bit more of a fiddle than many of my favourite recipes, but they really are worth the bother.
I used shop bought pastry, but if you prefer to avoid it, replace it with a batch of your own regular shortcrust. The custard, which can be a scary prospect, is pretty fool proof too, due to the addition of a spoonful of cornflour. This allows the custard to thicken before the eggs split. It’s a bit of a cheat, but it certainly helps many a cook succeed with home made custard when they’ve previously failed.

Using this recipe there shouldn’t be any split custard, just lovely, smooth vanilla custard. Add one or two raspberries for additional flavour, but they are delicious with or without! I guess you could experiment with other additions, but push the boundaries too far, and they’ll no longer be Portuguese custard tarts!


Portuguese Custard Tarts
(Pastéis de Nata)


100g caster sugar
4 egg yolks
30g cornflour
175ml full-fat milk
225ml double cream
1 vanilla pod
300g ready-rolled puff pastry

What to do
Firstly, preheat the oven to 180ºC
In a non stick saucepan, heat the egg yolks, the sugar and the cornflour with about a cup full of the milk. Keep the heat low and whisk continuously until the mixture has thickened.

Remove the vanilla seeds form the pod, or use a teaspoon of good quality vanilla extract ( I like the one with all the seeds in) then slowly add the remaining milk and the cream. Just as before, whisk the mixture continuously until it is thick and smooth.

Once you remove the custard from the heat, it’s essential to cover it with cling film immediately to prevent a skin from forming on the surface.

Now if you’re going to buy puff pastry, you might as well buy a ready rolled one, what’s the point of going half way to an easy life!? Open the pastry, place it on a work surface. Roll up the pastry sheet up like a Swiss roll, then cut into about 12 small slices ( there are 12 holes in a muffin tray, so it makes sense) Now roll out each of the pastry slices into small discs and place into the muffin tray. You may want to tidy up the edges using a circular cutter (or you can go for the rustic link like I do!)

Place a spoon full of custard into each pastry case, add a raspberry to some of them, and bake the tarts for about 18 minutes.
The custard should be set and golden-brown.

Allow to cool in the tin and enjoy x