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Pasteis de Nata (the easy way)

A hack to make these simple Portuguese custard tarts. Emily's favourite, and made with things you likely have around the house. To tide you over until you can get the real thing!

Equipment needed :

Oven that can go up to 260 degC at least, fan assisted is best

Two saucepans


Fine sieve

Rolling pin & board

Muffin pan

Ingredients :

1 half a pack of thawed Puff Pastry

5 egg yolks (save the whites in a ziplock bag and freeze)

1 cup white sugar

1/4 cup water

1 stick cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

Rind of 1 lemon, cut or zested

1 & 1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup flour

pinch salt

Non stick cooking spray

Add sugar, water, cinnamon stick, lemon and vanilla to a saucepan and heat up to 100 degC. Or just until sugar dissolves & starts to bubble. Do not stir, give the pot a whirl now and again. Take off the heat and allow to cool

Add flour, salt and milk to another saucepan and heat slowly, whisking continuously until it thickens. Set aside to cool for about 10 minutes

Strain syrup through fine sieve into milk & flour mixture and mix well. Whisk in the egg yolks until well combined. Strain the mixture through the sieve again into a jug.

Heat your oven to its highest fan assisted setting. Spray a muffin pan with cooking spray.

Roll out your puff pastry thinly into a rectangle shape, making sure the shorter side is over 12cm. Starting at the shorter side roll the pastry into a tight log, then cut into 12 even slices.

Using a rolling pin flatten the slices into large round shapes, and press into the muffin well making sure the dough gets right up to the top of the well. This takes a little work, and the case itself shouldn't be more than about 3mm thick.

Pour in the custard mixture into the dough cases, about 3/4 full. Pop into the very hot oven for about 10 minutes, until you're happy with the colour of your pastry, and remove. Allow to cool and enjoy!

Tips :

I find this makes 12 comfortably, that's why I only use half a pack of pastry. You may have leftover custard. Don't be tempted to fill up the cases, or you'll have bubbling custard over the whole muffin pan.

Keep a close eye on the pastry while cooking, you don't want it to crisp up too much and burn. I find 10 - 11 minutes in my fan assisted oven at its highest temp is perfect.

You can cut out round shapes out of rolled out puff pastry dough, but that will result in chewier cases. Worth the extra steps above to get a lighter pastry case.

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