Portuguese Egg Tarts (Pasteis de Nata)

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Serves: 18

Prep Time: 40 minutes, plus 2 hours of resting time

Cook Time: 40 minutes

If you know you know. These gorgeous little tarts, known as Pasteis de Nata, have a following around the world and are perfect for the holiday season. Delicious at any time of day, they are perfect with coffee, as a snack, or for dessert. Easy to make and beloved by all, you’ll want this recipe in your pocket!

Ingredients for Pastry

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup cold water

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, but not soft

Ingredients for Egg Custard

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1 cinnamon stick

1 strip of lemon peel (about 2 inches long)

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

6 large egg yolks, whisked


01To make the pastry, in a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Add water and stir until a soft dough forms.
02Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 5 minutes until smooth.
03Roll the dough into a square about 1/8 inch thick. Spread a third of the butter over the dough, leaving a small border around the edge. Fold the dough in half and roll it out to its original size. Repeat the process two more times with the remaining butter, chilling the dough for 15 minutes between each fold. After the final fold, roll the dough into a tight log, starting from the bottom up. Chill the dough for at least 2 hours or overnight.
04To make the egg custard, in a saucepan, heat the milk with the cinnamon stick and lemon peel until just boiling, then remove from heat and set aside for 15 minutes so the flavors infuse. Remove the cinnamon stick and lemon peel afterward.
05In another saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the water and bring to a boil. Cook until it reaches a light syrup consistency, about 3-4 minutes. In a bowl, dissolve the flour in a bit of milk to make a paste. Gradually add the remaining milk and whisk until smooth.
06Combine the flour mixture with the syrup, whisking constantly. Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring continuously, until thickened. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the egg yolks. Strain the custard through a fine sieve, cover with plastic wrap, and let cool to room temperature.
07To assemble and bake the tarts, preheat your oven to 550 F or as high as it will go if it doesn’t reach that temperature.
08Cut the dough log into 1-inch pieces. On a floured surface, roll out each piece into a 4-inch disc. Press the dough discs into the cups of a muffin tin and up along the sides, making sure to leave a small well in the center for the custard. Fill each dough cup with 2 tablespoons of custard.
09Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden-brown, and the custard is puffed and scorched in spots.
10Remove from the oven and let the tarts cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
11These tarts are best enjoyed the day they are made, slightly warm or at room temperature. Optionally, serve with a little powdered sugar sprinkled over the tops.

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Heat a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan. Wait until the pan is hot and the butter has fully melted.