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portuguese custard tarts (pasteis de Nata) & aWard

Portuguese custard tarts

Recently I bought the Café Favorites Cookbook from one of  The Australian’s Women Weekly Cookbook series. I only flicked through it quickly and without hesitation I bought it right away, there are many recipes which I know I would love to try and I have already tried a few already. The Portuguese custard tarts were a big hit, I have made twice in two weeks time already, for both occasions: our street BBQ and my friend’s baby shower, they were gone so quickly.

A little story telling….

The first time I came across Portuguese custard tarts was in 1997 in Hong Kong , when Lord Stow’s Bakery from Macau opened his first branch in Hong Kong, snake-like queues of people were waiting for hours to sample the freshly baked tarts came out of the oven. For those who did not want to wait (side-story), his ex-wife had also opened a bakery jut nearby competing with him and claiming hers were better. Anyhow, the food culture in Hong Kong is like fashion or a wave, rather short-lived, after people have tried, they jump on to try other new food. Lord Stow’s bakery does not exist in Hong Kong anymore, their custard tarts are now sold under exclusive licence at the coffee lobby bar in Excelsior Hong Kong.

I have visited Portugal years ago and have tried the local custard tarts there, I could only buy those selling at room temperature. To be honest, I did not like them at all. The custard was harder, a little curdled. I still like the modified version by Lord Stow. I am also too used to having freshly baked ones and eat them when they are piping hot or within a few hours out of the oven maximum.

I asked in twitter and found out apparently the most authentic ones are in Belém, Lisbon, thanks Helen @World Foodie Guide! I have to make a “pilgrim visit” to Belém one day : )

Although I am writing about Portuguese egg tarts today, my friend who is also named Carmen from Basel @ Sushi Session, both of us agree that Hong Kong style egg tarts are the best, especially the puff pastry ones. I was reading from wikipedia about the history and types of egg tarts, if you interested too, you can click here. Our last British Governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten who is also a food lover, likes the Hong Kong style egg tarts a lot, he used to visit Tai Cheong Bakery, 泰昌餅家 in Central from time to time, this bakery got popular since then (see picture below).

Tai Cheong Bakery, Central, Hong Kong

Please feel free to share your custard tarts experience in the comments section, would love to hear your story!!!

Recipe adapted from Café Favorites

Makes 12

Ingredients:

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) water
  • 4 fresh egg yolks (large eggs)
  • 300ml cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 ready-rolled sweet puff pastry
  • cinnamon (optional for sprinkle on top)
  • powdered sugar (optional to sprinkle on top)
  • butter for greasing the muffin molds

Directions:

  1. Grease a 12-hole muffin mould with some butter.
  2. Preheat oven to 220°C.
  3. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl, set aside.
  4. Mix the cornflour and water in a small bowl, set aside.
  5. In a stainless steel saucepan, add in the sugar, cream and gradually whisk in the egg yolks, turn to medium heat and keep stirring with a whisk until all sugar is dissolved, the cream and egg yolks are mixed well.
  6. While the mixture is slowly heating up, slowly pour in the cornflour mixture. Keep stirring to avoid lumps and until the mixture thickens and become custard.
  7. Unwrap the puff pastry, fold into half and then roll it up from the short side like a swiss roll.
  8. Divide the pastry into 12 equal round pastry dough.
  9. Cut-sides up, roll each small dough into a round piece on a lightly floured surface into a 10cm round. Push the rounds into the muffin molds with the sides sticking out, don’t worry they will strink when they are in the oven.
  10. Divide and spoon the custard into the each holes to about 3/4 full.
  11. Bake for about 2o minutes.When out of oven, let it stand for 5 minutes before lifting them to cool on wire rack.
  12. Optional, sprinkle some cinnamon and powder sugar for even more authenticity.
  13. Best served when they are piping hot or warm.

Enjoy!

Notes:

  • The recipe says mix the cornflour with sugar, cream, water and egg together, I find this will cause lumps so it’s better to dissolve the cornflour first with water.
  • I used a spoon to help stirring the custard as after some custard may stick to the bottom, I use the back of the spoon to help to avoid curds forming and ensuring the custard is smooth.

Custard tarts

You see those rocky road on the right? Stay tune for the recipe!

Award

And finally, I would like to thank you so much for Sophie from Sophies Foodiefiles for the Sisterhood award. Sophie lives in Belgium, I always feel she is living very close to me because Holland is just next door.

sisterhood

To keep with the tradition of passing on this  award. The Sisterhood Award is an award from bloggers to bloggers in recognition of a blog spot which shows attitute and/ or gratitude.

  1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
  2. Nominate up to 10 blogs which show great attitude and/or gratitude
  3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
  4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog, or by sending them an email.
  5. Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award.

And I would like to pass on to

So here is a long post today, I hope you have enjoyed it!

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43 thoughts on “portuguese custard tarts (pasteis de Nata) & aWard

  1. Oh, your tartlets look incredibly good and pretty! A delicious speciality! Thanks ever so much for the award!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. My favorite egg custard is flan and I tried a tart flan once that I liked. The tart was a little bit too thick, but still very good. I will have to try it again and make it thinner, or just try your recipe 🙂

  3. the only custard tarts I’ve tried is the Chinese egg custards! oh, wait, there is also this tofu custard tarts that I tried in Singapore..quite yummy, considering it is made with tofu!
    reminds me I have this recipe for portuguese custard tarts saved up some where…but now I have yours!

  4. I seriously doubt that Hong Kong’s tarts are better than Belém’s. Come visit Lisbon and you’ll see what I mean.

  5. Hi Ben, I did cheat a little by using the ready made puff pastry, they are so common in Switzerland here and good quality, really saved me a lot of time : )

  6. Your Portuguese tart look terrific…I never could imagine making them at home, always buy at the local Chinese bakery. Yours must taste much better…yummie! Congratulations of your award…
    Great pictures!

    Juliana’s last blog post..FUSILLI WITH MEAT SAUCE

  7. I have never tried those kind of tarts myself, although I am Portuguese. You might want to drop by a blog “Richardsons in Madeira”… they speak of those tarts in their blog, which they seem to have found quite addictive. I don’t know how they compare to the ones from the mainland, but you might like to visit a subtropical island to find out for yourself. Take a little trip to Madeira… try it… you’ll like it.

  8. Forget about them, the original “Pastéis de Belém” store on Belém Street is the only place you need to see. Though, down on the same street, there is another bakery selling some delicious beer tarts.

  9. I love portuguese egg tarts and when i saw them on foodgawker, I knew I had to come visit. 🙂

    Your recipe and the one that I used was pretty much the same except that I just put everything in the blender. lol. And from your pic, the pastry looks kinda thin. Would you mind sharing what brand do you use?

    Farina’s last blog post..Chicken and Beef Satay Recipe

  10. Hi
    I love to read to your blog, Chinese cuisine has always been a fascination for me, and now thanks to you, it seems so easy. Not just chinese but asian in general 🙂
    Anyway, i’ve tried the portuguese egg tarts at Lord Stow’s and the ones being sold in Portuguese in every coffee shop around the corner. But you haven’t tried the real deal, which is the famous Pastel de Belem, famous throughout the world. You had what we call as Pastel de Nata, which is nothing but a version of the pastel de belem. And the reason why it’s served cold and you can see them stored at room temperature, the Pastel de Nata is made in several bakery stores around the major cities or villages, and only then the product is distributed to every coffee shop. But the problem is when the product arrives its destination it’s already cold. And that’s why you should try Pasteis de Belem next time, they are baked in the shop and you can even take a peek at their cuisines, but obviously they’re not going to give you the recipe, lol
    Anyway, keep going with the good work
    Cheers

  11. Hi Miguel, Yes I was told about that but why can’t they make these freshly made ones more common. It sounds so strange to be only one bakery can serve fresh Portugest egg tarts in the whole Portugal.

  12. I am afraid I cannot advise you on this as those good ones are not in Hong Kong but in Macau. I have not tried the ones in HK recently as when I am in HK I would go for the local HK egg custard tarts.

  13. I have been to Belem’s and can vouch for the yumminess. However, I just wandered into a small, Portuguese cafe in Montreal and their pasteis de Nata was just as yummy! I don’t know the name of the cafe, but it is off of Mont-Royal several blocks down as you head toward the park – just around a corner.

  14. I grew up in Hong Kong and of course had eaten a lot of custard tarts, both the flakey Chinese yum cha styled ones and those from cafés. Never came across my mind regarding the origin until I visited Portugal in recent years.

    It’s a must visit to Belem, Portugal, where this pastry shop turns out thousands of tards a day, piping hot! Abstutely delicious!

    The tard base is in a spiral form. I wonder if anyone has the authentic Portugese recipe from that pastry shop???

  15. Hi, i thinks not. The Pasteis de Belem are a registered brand and its recipe is a very well keep secret. To tell the truth you can find very good “Pasteis de Nata” too.

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