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You already know by now that we love all things portuguese.
Today we are going to talk to you about one of the most famous portuguese dessert recipes you can find in almost any pastry shop and usually goes amazingly with your cup of coffee.
If you’ve ever tried authentic, traditional Portuguese custard tarts (best known as pasteis de nata) you know they are heavenly and in the league of their own. Making them at home is no more difficult than making croissants or custard based ice cream. But If you’ve ever made those, this recipe should be a piece of cake for you.
Portuguese custard tarts have a cinnamon flavored custard nestled in a flaky puff pastry crust. The trick here is to bake them in a very hot oven, which causes the custard to puff and the pastry to turn brown and crunchy. You can make the crust and filling ahead, but don’t bake them more than an hour or two before serving. They’re at their best still warm.
Here’s how they are done (by leitesculinaria.com):
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup plus two tablespoons water
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, stirred until smooth
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups milk, divided
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks, whisked
Garnish | Confectioners’ sugar and/or cinnamon
For the Dough
1. In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the flour, salt, and water until a soft, pillowy dough forms that pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 30 seconds.
2. Generously flour a work surface and pat the dough into a 6-inch square using a pastry scraper. Flour the dough, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.
3. Roll the dough into an 18-inch square. As you work, use the scraper to lift the dough to make sure the underside isn’t sticking to your work surface.
4. Brush the excess flour off the top of the dough, trim any uneven edges, and, using a small offset spatula, dot and then spread the left 2/3 portion of the dough with a little less than 1/3 of the butter being careful to leave a 1 inch plain border around the edge of the dough.
5. Neatly fold the unbuttered right 1/3 of the dough (using the pastry scraper to loosen it if it sticks) over the rest of the dough. Brush off any excess flour, then fold over the left 1/3 of the dough. Starting from the top, pat down the dough with your hand to release any air bubbles, and then pinch the edges of the dough to seal. Brush off any excess flour.
6. Turn the dough 90° to the left so the fold is facing you. Lift the dough and flour the work surface. Once again roll it out to an 18-inch square, then dot the left 2/3 of the dough with 1/3 of the butter and smear it over the dough. Fold the dough as directed in steps 4 and 5.
7. For the last rolling, turn the dough 90° to the left and roll out the dough to an 18-by-21-inch rectangle, with the shorter side facing you. Spread the remaining butter over the entire surface of the dough.
8. Using the spatula as an aid, lift the edge of dough closest to you and roll the dough away from you into a tight log, brushing the excess flour from the underside as you go. Trim the ends and cut the log in half. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours or preferably overnight.
Make the custard
9. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and 1/4 cup milk until smooth.
10. Bring the sugar, cinnamon, and water to a boil in a small saucepan and cook until an instant-read thermometer registers 220°F (100°C). Do not stir.
11. Meanwhile, in another small saucepan, scald the remaining 1 cup milk. Whisk the hot milk into the flour mixture.
12. Remove the cinnamon stick and then pour the sugar syrup in a thin stream into the hot milk-and-flour mixture, whisking briskly. Add the vanilla and stir for a minute until very warm but not hot. Whisk in the yolks, strain the mixture into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside. The custard will be thin; that is as it should be. (You can refrigerate the custard for up to 3 days.)
Assemble and bake the pastries
13. Heat the oven to 550°F (290°C). Remove a pastry log from the refrigerator and roll it back and forth on a lightly floured surface until it’s about an inch in diameter and 16 inches long. Cut it into scant 3/4-inch pieces. Place 1 piece pastry dough, cut side down, in each well of a nonstick 12-cup mini-muffin pan (2-by-5/8-inch size). Allow the dough pieces to soften several minutes until pliable.
14. Have a small cup of water nearby. Dip your thumbs in the water, then straight down into the middle of the dough spiral. Flatten it against the bottom of the cup to a thickness of about 1/16 inch, then smooth the dough up the sides and create a raised lip about 1/8 inch above the pan. The pastry sides should be thinner than the bottom.
15. Fill each cup 3/4 full with the slightly warm custard. Bake the pasteis until the edges of the dough are frilled and brown, about 8 to 9 minutes.
16. Remove from the oven and allow the pasteis to cool a few minutes in the pan, then transfer to a rack and cool until just warm. Sprinkle the pasteis generously with confectioners’ sugar, then cinnamon and serve. Repeat with the remaining pastry and custard. These are best consumed the day they’re made.
So, tell us: are you courageous enough to make this recipe?