Pasteis de Nata Dessert of Portugal #SundaySupper

Pasteis de Nata Custard Tarts

Pasteis de Nata Sunday Supper Dessert Recipe

I am honored that Celia Pedroso is joining us Around the Family Table for Sunday Supper this week.  If you have ever had the pleasure of visiting Portugal, you know, that Pasteis de Nata are the most popular dessert.  You literally can find them in every Cafe in Portugal. This recipe for Pasteis de Nata Dessert of Portugal is absolutely my favorite one to make at home.

They are a pleasure that everyone must indulge with a Bica, Portuguese Espresso.  Celia knows that Pasteis de Nata are at the heart of Portugal and I love that she shares her love for them with us.

Don’t wait until a visit to Portugal to try this delicacy!

As soon as Lucy Pepper and I were planning the book “Eat Portugal – The Essential Guide to Portuguese Food”, we knew we had to have a recipe for pastéis de nata (custard tarts). 

As the most popular cakes in Portugal you can find them everywhere, with slight variations. Until you go home and you are left bereft…  I like this recipe because it’s not difficult, and actually it doesn’t have any natas (cream). I’ve done them successfully for many families lunches. Although i can buy them easily in the nearest café, it’s quite entertaining and satisfying to bake your own pastéis de nata. Children love it too and are happy to help you. You can always do your own pastry if you prefer, but nowadays it’s easy to find good ones in the supermarkets.

Portuguese are keen on desserts and are known for having a sweet tooth, but this cake is not that sweet. That’s why we sometimes add icing sugar on top. And cinnamon, whose flavor combines so well with the eggs and milk.

Another feature of this cake is that it happens to be light, unlike most of our desserts, generally heavy on eggs. It’s also the best “partner” for an expresso: the crispy pastry and the creamy filling pairs wonderfully with a strong cup of coffee.

This is not however the recipe of the Pastéis de Belém, the ones that are unique, both for the puff pastry and the filling. But for that you’ll have to come to Lisbon and try it in that “sanctuary” café, in the Belém quarter. That recipe has been kept secret since the 19 th century, when the monks of the Jerónimos Monastery first start selling this fine pastries.

Bom apetite and keep on eating Portugal….

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  • 16 oz Prepared Puff Pastry
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 egg whites
  • lemon zest
  • (optional)
  • icing sugar
  • cinnamon

Pastry: Roll the pastry out into an oblong then roll along its length into a sausage. Cut into equal slices and put one in each hole in a patty tin. Squash the pastry inside the tin (easier with wet fingers). Press with your thumbs from the bottom to the sides so the pastry is thinner at the bottom. Put the tins in the fridge while you work on the filling.(depending on the puff pastry you might need to grease the tins before squashing the pastry)


Mix the flour in the cold milk and pour into a pan. Mix and bring to boil, whisking all the time. Add a bit of lemon peel.

Remove from the heat and add the sugar, (previously boiled with some water to “soft ball” stage, or rather, boil it for about ten minutes and don’t let it colour).

Allow the mixture to cool down, then add the yolks and the egg whites, well beaten, and mix gently. Pour into the pastry cases straight from the fridge and put in the pre-heated oven at 220º C.

Cook for about 15 minutes, and then watch them until the pastry is golden and the custard turns dark brown in patches.

Remove from the oven, and allow to cool in the tins, but tap the tins first, so they don’t stick.

Eat slightly warm, sprinkled with icing sugar and cinnamon on top, as is traditional in Pastéis de Belém.




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