Portuguese Egg Tarts (Pastel de Nata)

When I saw this entry on Gourmet Traveller88, I knew I had to try it! It was during my teens when I first come into contact with the frenzy of Portuguese Egg Tarts in Malaysia, the craze lasted for a few months like a fashion trend. Dad drove us to one of the few bakeries in town that catered to such trend to buy a few boxes just to keep up with the trend, as vain as it might sound, it was true.

I remember vividly,  these highly sought after egg tarts tasted rather different compared to the normal Chinese egg tarts from a Dim Sum shop. The surface was charred, custard was creamier and the pastry was lighter, nonetheless, they were goood.

Fast forward to now,  just when these little gems were about to slip my mind, I saw them again. Now, with all the time in the world and a ‘test’ kitchen as well as a bunch of experimental mice around the house, why not?

From the title itself, it is self explanatory that these tarts originated from Portugal. Lisbon to be more exact. Macau being a former colonised country of Portugal, naturally adapted her cuisine too. (An extract from Wikipedia here: The Portuguese-style egg tarts known in Macau (Chinese: 葡式蛋撻, more commonly simply as 葡撻) originated from Lord Stow’s Café in Coloane, owned by a Briton named Andrew Stow. Stow modified the recipe of pastel de nata using techniques of making English custard tarts [3]. It has since become available at numerous bakeries, as well as Macau-style restaurants and KFC restaurant chains in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. There was an egg tart craze in Singapore and Taiwan in the late 1990s.)

Today, I relive my early experience with Portuguese egg custard tarts with the help of her recipe. It is good for 12 egg tarts.

Ingredients

  • 100 g of caster sugar (roughly 1/3 cup of sugar)
  • 5 fresh egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp of corn flour dissolved thoroughly in 1/3 cup of water
  • 1 tub of whipping cream (normally 280 – 300ml)
  • 1 tsp of vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp of lemon juice
  • Frozen puff pastry of about 480 g (in block or in sheet form)

Baking steps

  1. Preheat oven at 200 or 220°C
  2. Mix corn flour and water in a bowl, set aside.
  3. Separate out the egg yolks into a bowl, whisk them and leave aside. (Worry about the egg whites? Keep it aside to make meringue or beat it up to use in fried rice.)
  4. In a small pot, add in sugar and cream. Turn the heat on medium, whisk them up until the sugar is dissolved. Simultaneously, add in the beaten egg yolks bit by bit.
  5. Now,  add in corn flour solution drips by drips while whisking the mixture in the pot. Keep whisking until the mixture thickens up, hence, the custard is formed.
  6. Off the heat and set the custard aside.
  7. Divide up the puff pastry into 12 equal parts,then roll 1 part into a ball.
  8. Subsequently, roll the ball out into an 8 cm diameter flat pastry. Now, press the rolled out pastry gently into greased mould until the rims are all covered up.
  9. Pour in the custard into the moulded pastry until it’s 3 quarters full.
  10. Bake them at 200 – 220°C over 25 mins OR until custard surface is charred and puff pastry is puffed!
  11. Savour them after resting for a few mins…yum!

Updated in July 2009, here is my 2nd attempt with a series of pictures and steps.

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7 thoughts on “Portuguese Egg Tarts (Pastel de Nata)

  1. hmmm: I had no problem with the curdling of custard, prepare the custard, cover it with 2-3 damp kitchen towel, move on to pastry moulding, and come back to custard to fill out the pastry moulds. Make sure you keep stirring the custard in the making. Hope you give it another try..

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