Here is something which you may not know about me. My absolute favourite treat in the whole wide world is when someone coming back from a glorious trip overseas returns with the current issue of an overseas foodie mag especially for me. They can even read it first.
Of course I have my favourites within favourites, but really: Delicious, Olive, Gourmet, Bon Appetite, Martha Stewart, GoodFood, Donna Hay, Saveur. All of them. I love all of them. Equally. The only time I love one more than the other is if it happens to be the Christmas issue. Holiday issues are like the Holy Grail of food magazines.
Most times, I will read the magazine through fifteen or twenty times and then I will tear out the recipes that I would actually make, or even just the recipes which inspire me to make something else. The rest of the mag goes into the recycling bin; mainly because this is not an episode of Hoarders: Buried Alive. All that is except for the holiday issues. Holiday issues remain packed away intact until I dig them out each November when the faint smell of Christmas begins to lure me back to them.
Today’s recipe for Pasteis de nata is the direct result of the gorgeous front cover image of the April 2015 issue of Delicious Magazine. I have wanted to make Pasteis de nata for ages. We are rather fond of popping into Vida and grabbing a pasteis on our way out. Vida’s pasteis are great but I really wanted to give it a bash myself.
The original recipe for Pasteis de nata is an ancient one steeped in history, dating back to 1837. The famous bakery called Pasteis de Belem in Lisbon Portugal is now home to that secret recipe. Definitely a place I am adding to my bucket list. The website is pretty cool and if you have a moment take the factory tour to see the hundreds and hundreds of pasteis being made. Obviously they do not actually give you a recipe. Remember, its a big secret and all that.
Thus began my Pasteis de nata recipe search. On the hunt I learned a few things. Firstly, no two Pasteis de nata recipes are the same. Many are similar but none identical. Secondly, no two Pasteis de nata recipes methods are the same either. Some recipes make the custard to set and fully thick on the stove top without using a sugar syrup; and others, like today’s recipe, use the traditional sugar syrup method and bake the custard to set.
I was pretty sure that I wanted to make an authentic recipe. David Leite’s recipe is probably as close as its gets; he even makes the pastry by hand. I must confess: what I actually wanted was a recipe pretty close to authentic but not one which did required me to make the pastry from scratch.
All that brought me back to the recipe for Pasteis de nata in Delicious Magazine, and that is the one I am sharing with you today. I have not altered the recipe at all. You can view the original recipe here.
What I have done is rewrite the recipe in a manner that made sense to me as I made it. You will also note that, I say the recipe makes 18 and Delicious says 22. I actually got out about 18, but two were very small. If you are now looking at the cover and doing some comparison with my images, you might agree that mine do not quite match their standard. Frankly, I think I will hike up the temperature a bit more next time, get more caremelisation on them. But, in defense of my pasteis, they tasted amazing. They were a touch too sweet for me but Dear Husband deemed them perfectly sweet. I am definitely going to make these again and again. Until of course I go to Portugal, taste the real thing and be spoilt for life.
PS Are you desperately wanting to know where I found that beautiful vintage plate Cake Stand? Angela Muller from Angel’s Delights hand makes these gorgeous cake stands using modern, semi antique and antique plates which she sources from Cape antique stores. Visit Ang on her Facebook page to view more of her stands or to get in contact with her to place your order.
Is Pasteis de Nata something you would try at home? If you have tried a great recipe for Pasteis de Nata, please share it in the comments so that we can all check it out.
- softened butter
- 500 g puff pastry
- 500 ml (2 C) milk
- strips of lemon zest from of one lemon
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 70 g cake flour
- 485 g caster sugar
- 200 ml (¾ C + 2 t) water
- 6 egg yolks
- Brush the holes of a muffin pan with butter and place in the refrigerator for a few minutes to firm the butter.
- Unroll the puff pastry and use a cutter to cut the pastry into 12 disks. Line the muffin pan holes with the pastry, pressing the pastry into each hole and up the sides such the pastry on the bottom is thinner than the pastry up the sides.
- Return to the refrigerator until needed.
- Place the milk into a medium saucepan together with the lemon strips and the cinnamon.
- Heat to just boiling and then leave to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the lemon strips and the cinnamon stick.
- Whisk 80 ml (⅓ C) of the milk with the flour to form a smooth paste.
- Bring the remaining milk to the boil and whisk in the flour paste, whisking continually until thick. Set aside.
- Place the sugar and the water into a small saucepan.
- Stir over a gentle heat to dissolve the sugar.
- Stop stirring, turn up the heat and boil for 4 -5 minutes or until the sugar reaches 108˚C to 118˚C on a sugar thermometer or thread stage if using the cold water method.
- Whisk the hot sugar into the milk custard.
- Whisk well, but ignore any small lumps.
- Place the egg yolks in a large bowl and strain (to remove any lumps) the milk custard mixture over the egg yolks.
- Whisk well.
- Cool for 10 minutes.
- Pour the custard into the pastry cases and bake in an oven that has been preheated to 200˚C for 15 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden.