Portuguese Pasteis de nata /Puffy custard tarts

pasteis2Difficulty:Master  Time:Very long

This is one of the most popular Portuguese cakes originally prepared at the Antiga Confeitaria de Belém, where they keep on selling the same kind of pastries still now. Believe me, it deserves a visit!

INGREDIENTS (x 10 pieces):

  • - 2 rolls of purchased, ready-to-use Puff Pastry (460 g)
  • - 60g flour
  • - 500 ml whole milk
  • - 1 organic lemon peel
  • - 1 cinnamon powder
  • - 350g sugar
  • - 120 ml water
  • - 8 egg yolks


  • 1. Unwrap the dough carefully and take out round shapes allowing them to fit in a baking tray for muffins.
  • 2. Take one ‘disc’ a time and, with your thumbs, start pushing the centre of the dough. Spread the dough to the edges so that the edges become thicker, making the dough thinner in the center.
  • 3. Place the shapes on the muffins baking tray, already smeared with butter and some flour (to avoid it sticking to the tray).
  • 4. In the meanwhile get the custard ready. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the flour and 120 ml milk until it is smooth and without clumps. Set everything aside.
  • 5. Then, in a small saucepan, bring the sugar, 120 ml water and the lemon juice to a boil and boil until you get a fluid and slightly gold caramel (it should get to 100°C which you can reach after 3 minutes). Do not stir.
  • 6. Meanwhile, warm up the remaining milk with the lemon peel and the cinnamon powder in another small saucepan.
  • 7. Add the flour mixture and stir well. Stir until it begins to boil and turn off the heat.
  • 8. Now take the sugar syrup, add it to the milk and mix well. Strain in a colander and let it cool down. NOTE: Leave it until cold.
  • 9. Only now, you are ready to add the egg yolks with the cream and stir well.
  • 10. Now you are ready for assembly: fill each cup 3/4 full with the slightly warm custard cream.
  • 11. Bake in a preheated oven at 250 degrees for about 20 minutes. Once baked, they should come out with a golden/brown surface. They can be unmold only when cooled down.
  • 12. Sprinkle the pasteis generously with powdered sugar and cinnamon (optional) and serve.


  • - The pasteis are best eaten warm on the day they’re made.
  • - If the Puff Pastry is not available in rolls at your local supermarket, make sure you start preparing these tarts by stretching the dough into a rectangle with a rolling pin. Wrap the dough in a roll, pressing well.
  • - You can use a cinnamon stick instead of a powder if you prefer. With the powder the quantity can be more easily increased according to your taste.
  • - Because home ovens can’t match the heat of those at the Antiga Confeitaria de Belém, where these treats were first made, your pasteis may not brown as much as those you can buy over there! Don’t be disappointed.