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(Experiment 167) Pasteis de nata

Pasteis de nata means cream pastries and funnily enough well there is no cream in this recipe. These come from the monks from Portugal and were a simple way to recover the extra yolks they did not use( whites were used to starch the clothes) .

These delicate 2 bites tart combine puff pastries with creme brulée and it hit the spot big time. The perfect consistency is when the middle is set yet not runny. It is best served still warm but not hot 😉

I do want to warn you that ovens differ and you may need to experiment a little. You may need to place it in the middle or bottom or add a few cooking minutes to get a better result.

You need

  • puff pastry ( see how to here ) *
  • 280g milk
  • 25g all-purpose flour
  • 158g water
  • 260g sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • dash vanilla extract
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • (optional) ground cinnamon or icing sugar for garnish

Tip: do the puff pastry the day before


  1. Take your puff pastry dough out of the fridge and flat it down in a rectangle to about 1/8″. Then starting from lengthwise, roll it over itself to form a long cylinder. I like to give it a spray of water before rolling it so it all glues back together. Wrap in plastic film and put in the fridge.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine about 1/5 of the milk with the flour. This will create a paste that will thicken the custard later. Reserve
  3. For this step, you will cook 2 things at the same time.
    In the first pot combine the sugar, water and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil. At this point, you should have a clear liquid. Stop the heat and let it cool.
    In the second pot scald the remaining milk ( scalding is just before it simmers – when you tilt the pot you will see bubbles forming). Transfer into the paste we created earlier.
  4. Discard the cinnamon stick from the sugar syrup and slowly transfer while whisking into the milk mixture. Add vanilla extract.
  5. Slowly whisk in the milk mixture into the yolks, if you go too fast you will end up with scrambled eggs.
  6. Pre-heat your oven at 550F
  7. Take your puff pastry dough out of the fridge and cut the cylinder about 3/4″ wide , repeat until its all cut
  8. Grease a muffin tin with butter and line up some dough in each hole. If you do want to pay for the right tins, go for it 😉
  9. Put 1 piece of dough in each hole and with your finger press it down to mould the shape. Put the “eye” of the dough in the bottom center. It will create a nice visual effect.
  10. Fill each dough to a maximum of 3/4 with the mixture. When it bakes it will expand, if you put too much it will leak on the crust.
  11. Put in the middle of the oven and cook for 10 minutes or until the top is caramelized. When you take them out they should be set but jiggle a little. It will set a bit more once cooled

Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days but ideally eat them all the same day

Look at this beautiful swirl

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