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Pastel de Nata – Famous Portuguese Custard Tarts

Pastel de Nata are the most famous and delicious Portuguese Dessert. The creamy custard that caramelizes while baking in a light and flakey pastry crust is a must try!

Pastel de Nata Portuguese Custard Tarts on a pink plate

Pastel de Nata (Portuguese Custard Tarts) Recipe

Whenever I’m on vacation in Portugal, I know I’m going to come back a few pounds heavier! Not just from all of the delicious seafood dishes, bread, cheese, bowls of rice, and endless glasses of wine, Portugal is also home to my favorite dessert, pastéis de nata (pastel de nata in the singular… bet you can’t east just one!) 

Anywhere I go from visiting family or dining out, they are right there tempting me to just eat one or two and I just can’t resist!

These tarts are dangerously delicious and addictive. You might think that one would be enough, but you would only say that if you’ve never tried one. There’s something deliciously irresistible about the combination of blistered, caramelized custard and flaky golden brown puff pastry. I dare you to try one… you’ll be hooked for life!

Pastel de Nata Portuguese Custard Tarts on a pink plate

These famous custard tarts come from the town of Belém, just outside of Lisbon. More specifically at the Jerónimos Monastery, which is where the famous recipe was born!

The version below gives you as close a taste to the original as possible. For a real classic taste, serve the pastéis warm, sprinkled with cinnamon. I use store bought puff pastry in this recipe. Making your own from scratch is definitely an option too but a lot more work!

What is in Pastel de Nata?

ingredients for making pastel de nata
  • Just a few simple ingredients come together to make these tarts. The simplest way to make these tarts is to use store bought puff pastry. You can definitely make your own puff pastry but I prefer using store bought.
  • There are two steps to making the custard. First is a sugar syrup and then a milk mixture.

  • The sugar syrup is made with sugar, water, vanilla and cinnamon. It is optional to include pieces of lemon peel in this mixture to infuse a lemon flavor.
  • The sugar syrup is then combined with a mixture of milk, flour, egg yolks and salt. The flour and egg thickens the custard while baking.

How to Make Pastel de Nata

Full Printable Recipe at Bottom of Page

Prepare the Custard

steps for making syrup for pastel de nata

1 Preheat your oven to 550°F (290°C). Lightly grease a 12 cup muffin tin or use 12 traditional pasteis de nata tart pans.

2 In a medium sized saucepan, bring to a boil the sugar, water, vanilla extract, lemon peel (optional), and cinnamon stick. Cook until a thermometer reads a temperature of 220°F (100°C). Do not stir the mixture while heating or the sugar will crystalize.

steps for making custard for pastel de nata

3 In another medium sized saucepan whisk the milk, flour and salt together until evenly combined. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, for about 5 minutes or until well combined and the milk has thickened. Take off the heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

4 Once cooled, whisk in the egg yolks. Then remove the cinnamon stick from the sugar syrup and add the syrup to the milk. Mix until everything is well combined. Optional: strain through a sieve to remove any lumps.

Prepare the Pastry Crust

steps for shaping pastel de nata pastry

5 Unroll the store bought puff pastry and fold in half into a rectangle. Gently roll the pastry to press the two layers together. From the short end of the rectangle tightly roll the sheet into a log.

6 Cut the log into 12 even pieces.

steps for shaping pastel de nata pastry cups

7 Use your hands to flatten each piece and then roll them out as thin as possible into a circle.

8 Place a piece of rolled pastry into each of the 12 cups of the muffin tin (or pasteis de nata tart pan). Press the pastry against the edges of the muffin tin to create the tart shells.

Bake the Pastel de Nata

steps for making pastel de nata

9 Fill each pastry cup 3/4 of the way full with the custard.

10 Bake the tarts until the custard starts to caramelize and blister and the pastry turns golden brown, approximately 10-12 minutes.

Serve warm, with powdered sugar and ground cinnamon (both optional, but delicious). Enjoy!

Pastel de Nata with a sprinkle of cinnamon are a must try!

Pastel de Nata Portuguese Custard Tarts on a pink plate

Oven Temperature

A quick note about the oven temperature… it’s high! If your oven does not go this high, just set it to the maximum heat. If you have a convection oven, this is a recipe to use that setting!

How long do Portuguese Custard Tarts stay fresh?

These pasteis de nata will last up to five days, however the dough loses its distinctive crispy texture pretty quickly. Even on day two you’ll notice a difference. I recommend making small batches to enjoy within a day or two.

How do I store Pasteis de Nata?

Keep them out on the counter the day you make them. If there are still leftovers you can store them in the fridge. Make sure they come to room temperature before enjoying the next day, or pop them into the oven for a quick warm up.

Pastel de Nata Portuguese Custard Tarts on a pink plate

Looking for More Portuguese Desserts?

  • Cavacas, Portuguese Popover Pastries – similar to a popover these light and air pastries are topped with a lemon icing! Fill them with whipped cream, vanilla pudding, chocolate pudding, and more!
  • Queijadas de Leite (Milk Tarts) – the ultimate creamy custard baked in a muffin tin with a crispy exterior. Topped with cinnamon they are absolutely amazing!
  • Chocolate Salami – a simple fudge like dessert filling with crushed cookies and shaped to look like salami! How cute!

Enjoy!

– Sab

Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, may earn me a small commission.

Pastel de Nata Portuguese Custard Tarts on a pink plate

Pastel de Nata (Portuguese Custard Tart)

Pastel de Nata are the most famous Portuguese dessert. They are deliciously irresistible. The combination of blistered, caramelized custard and flaky golden brown puff pastry is a match made in heaven. Whenever I’m on vacation in Portugal, I know I’m going to come back a few pounds heavier! Not just from all of the delicious seafood dishes, bread, cheese, bowls of rice, and endless glasses of wine, Portugal is also home to favorite treat pastéis de nata (pastel de nata in the singular… bet you can't east just one!).
5 from 13 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Dessert
Cuisine Portuguese
Servings 12
Calories 257 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/3 cups white sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 6 egg yolks (large sized eggs), whisked, or 7 yolks from medium sized eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 lemon peel only, cut into strips (optional)
  • 1 sheet pre-rolled puff pastry, about 300g or 10 oz
  • cinnamon for dusting on top, optional
  • icing sugar for dusting on top, optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 550°F (290°C). Lightly grease a 12 cup muffin tin or use 12 traditional pasteis de nata tart pans.
  • In a medium sized saucepan, bring to a boil the sugar, water, vanilla extract, lemon peel (optional), and cinnamon stick. Cook until a thermometer reads a temperature of 220°F (100°C). Do not stir the mixture.
  • In another medium sized saucepan whisk the milk, flour and salt together until evenly combined. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, for about 5 minutes or until well combined and the milk is thickened. Take off the heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
  • Once cooled, whisk in the egg yolks. Then remove the cinnamon stick from the sugar syrup and add the syrup to the milk. Mix until everything is well combined. Optional: strain through a sieve to remove any lumps.
  • Unroll the store bought puff pastry and fold in half into a rectangle. Gently roll the pastry to press the two layers together. From the short end of the rectangle tightly roll the sheet into a log.
  • Cut the log into 12 even pieces. Use your hands to flatten each piece and then roll them out as thin as possible into a circle.
  • Place a piece of rolled pastry into each of the 12 cups of the muffin tin (or pasteis de nata tart pan). Press the pastry against the edges of the muffin tin to create the tart shells.
  • Fill each pastry cup 3/4 of the way full with the custard.
  • Bake the tarts until the custard starts to caramelize and blister and the pastry turns golden brown, approximately 10-12 minutes.
  • Serve warm, with powdered sugar and ground cinnamon (both optional, but delicious). Enjoy!

Video

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NUTRITION

Calories: 257kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 4gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 100mgSodium: 115mgPotassium: 62mgFiber: 1gSugar: 24gVitamin A: 172IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 46mgIron: 1mg
This nutrition information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. See our full nutrition disclosure here.

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Recipe Rating




Ashely

Sunday 27th of March 2022

Thanks for this! This is my go to recipe now. They turned out so good and was so easy to make! Love the pastry shortcut.