This past Sunday morning Mike and I were fortunate enough to wake up on our own accord as Nana and Papa had graciously taken the kids on an over-nighter. While I do miss their happy little faces and morning hugs, every now and then it’s pure bliss to wake up to your own internal alarm clock. Mike and I even slept past seven a.m.!
After lying in bed for a while we got up, ate breakfast at a leisurely pace, watched some news, did some reading, made some coffee and then decided to bake together before the kids got home. We put on some classic rock and got down to making our next Portuguese recipe, Pasteis de Nata, or custard tarts.
We started by whisking together a few egg yolks, corn starch, sugar and half & half in a saucepan over medium heat. Many of the recipes called for using either all milk (skim, whole, 2 percent), or a combination of heavy cream and milk. I know some of the professional chefs out there are cringing, but we went for the fat-free half & half just to be a little healthier.
As the custard sat aside, covered in plastic wrap to keep it from forming a skim, we turned our attention to the pastry. First we preheated the oven to 375F and greased a 12-hole muffin tin. Now, many of you know how much I love to make pie and pastry crusts, but for this recipe we went the simple route and used store-bought puff pastry. I’d never tried it before and was kind of curious about it. We used one sheet and sliced it in half. We then placed one half on top of the other.
While the tarts cooled, we mixed together some powdered sugar and cinnamon and dusted them over the tops of the tarts. (If you have a cooking torch, browning the tops would be a nice touch as well.) Mike and I then sat down and ate a few right away. A little dessert for brunch never hurt anyone right!
The tarts were warm, rich and absolutely full of creamy goodness. It was all we could do to stop ourselves from eating too many. They easily garnered a 4 spoon rating from us. They were quite a treat and something we probably never would have thought to try – so thank you Portugal! And while I still prefer to make my own pastry, I have to say that the store-bought variety wasn’t all that bad.
As for the kids, we shared these with them after our baked cod dinner as you may remember. Mr. N thought they were pretty good, but a bit too rich and sweet for his taste. He gave them 2-1/2 spoons. Miss A, after finally deciding to eat her cod, took a few quick finger licks of the custard. She seemed to be considering whether she liked it. Then, well, you can see for yourselves…
She licked that tart clean and then devoured the pastry. Yep, you could say Miss A agreed with her mom and dad and gave them 4 spoons. Now, somehow or another, Mike and I were able to restrain ourselves and saved a few of these in the fridge. We ate a couple for dessert last night and wouldn’t you know they are even fabulous right out of the fridge. Warm or cold these Portuguese pasteis de nata are a decadent, rich and down right delicious dessert – and making them isn’t a bad way to spend a lazy Sunday morning.
Print this recipe: Pasteis de Nata