One of the best parts about growing up in a Portuguese household is all the delicious foods you’re exposed to from an early age. Portuguese cuisine involves everything from kale soup (before it was cool) to delicious cream-filled donuts. Personally, my favourite have always been the beloved Portuguese Custard Tarts (pastéis de nata). These puff-pastry wrapped gems are filled with delicious egg custard and absolutely impossible to resist.

Whether you’re baking for your cousin’s batismo or simply want a treat to enjoy with your morning espresso, these are the perfect solution. While they may seem daunting, this custard tart recipe has been adapted by my mom and I to be a bit more suitable for a busy lifestyle (because some of us can’t afford to stir the custard all day like Avó).

Portuguese Egg Custard Tarts (Pastéis de nata)

  • Prep Time:20 minutes
  • Cook Time:40 minutes
  • Total Time:2 hours (includes cooling)
  • Servings:15 tarts
  • Medium

    Ingredients

  • 1 package (2 sheets) of puff pastry or homemade, thawed in the fridge
  • 2 cup whole milk (3.5%)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup cold whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 6 egg yolks
  • Zest of one lemon
Photo by Olivia Faria
Photo by Olivia Faria

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Step 2

Gather and prepare your ingredients. Zest the lemon and separate the egg yolks.

#SpoonTip: Use the leftover egg whites for an omelet or meringues!

Photo by Olivia Faria
Photo by Olivia Faria

Step 3

In a large pot, mix 2 cups of milk, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla and butter over medium heat. Bring to a boil and remove from heat immediately.

Photo by Olivia Faria
Photo by Olivia Faria

Step 4

In a measuring cup, mix the cold milk with the sugar and cornstarch. Whisk until everything is well blended and no lumps of sugar or cornstarch remain.

Photo by Olivia Faria
Photo by Olivia Faria

Step 5

Put the pot back on medium heat. Slowly whisk in the cornstarch mixture and mix until combined.

Photo by Olivia Faria
Photo by Olivia Faria

Step 6

Continue to whisk the mixture constantly and begin to add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Photo by Olivia Faria
Photo by Olivia Faria

Step 7

Once the mixture has thickened into custard, take off the heat and allow to cool slightly.

Photo by Olivia Faria
Photo by Olivia Faria

Step 8

On a lightly floured surface or parchment, roll your puff pastry into a log.

Photo by Olivia Faria
Photo by Olivia Faria

Step 9

Cut the log of puff pastry into 1-inch pieces.

Photo by Olivia Faria
Photo by Olivia Faria

Step 10

Shape the dough into little circles by stretching and pulling the dough. Alternatively, you could roll the puff pastry out and cut into circles.

Photo by Olivia Faria
Photo by Olivia Faria

Step 11

Press the puff pastry circles into tart shells or a muffin tin.

Photo by Olivia Faria
Photo by Olivia Faria

Step 12

Spoon roughly 1.5 tablespoons of custard into each tart shell.

Photo by Olivia Faria
Photo by Olivia Faria

Step 13

Bake the tarts for 20-25 minutes until pastry is cooked through and custard is set. There will probably be some browned spots on the custard (which is normal).

Step 14

Let the tarts cool slightly before topping with cinnamon (optional) and enjoying with a cup of coffee!

Photo by Olivia Faria
Photo by Olivia Faria