Portuguese custard tarts

Portuguese custard tarts

This recipe for traditional Portuguese custard tarts (or pastéis de nata) is very good, and few people would be prepared to part with it, says the author of Baking for Pleasure & Profit, Christine Capendale.

Serves: 24 tarts


500 g flaky pastry
50 g room temperature butter
120 ml (60 g) cake flour
500 ml full cream milk
grated rind of 1 lemon
1 cinnamon stick
250 ml water
625 ml (500 g) sugar
7 egg yolks
For serving: ground cinnamon


Roll out the pastry and use it to line two well-greased muffin pans. Brush the pastry generously with the butter.

Mix the flour with a little of the milk to make a smooth paste. Place the rest of the milk, the lemon rind and cinnamon stick in a saucepan on medium heat and bring to the boil. Add the flour paste and stir very well until it starts to thicken and boil.Remove from the heat and set aside to let the flavours infuse.

In another saucepan on medium heat, stir the water and sugar until the sugar dissolves and only then bring to the boil. Boil for 3 minutes and then add the hot syrup to the milk mixture. Mix well. Set aside until it is completely cool. Strain once cool.

Preheat the oven to 220 °C.  Beat the egg yolks and add to the custard while stirring vigorously.

Fill the pastry to about two-thirds full (use a jug to pour the filling) and bake for 15 minutes. Cool the tarts in the muffin pans.

Dust the tart with ground cinnamon before serving.

Tip: You can keep the filling in the refrigerator for a few days and bake the tarts as needed.

Recipe courtesy of Baking for Pleasure & Profit by Christine Capendale, published by Human & Rousseau and available for R250.

Baking for Pleasure & Profit

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