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The New Kitchen Cookbook
Pastéis de Nata
I bought a mini-muffin tin a while back for the sole purpose of making pastéis de nata, a Portuguese egg custard tart that I used to eat in Lisbon. In the meantime many mini-muffins have been baked in it, but on account of a brunch followed by back-to-back holiday parties this weekend it finally achieved its true purpose. The tin is non-non-stick, but there’s enough butter in this recipe to release a horse.
I mostly followed this recipe from Leite’s Culinaria, with some passing reference to this Food.com recipe and this blind-baked version.
I blind-baked half the batch, but I found the shells shrank in the process, leaving me extra custard at the end. (You can just bake it at 450°F for ten minutes or so until it gets brown spots.) The process was also longer and more of a pain, so I recommend the sighted-baking method.
Makes 40, best eaten fresh.
- 1 7/8 c. flour
- ¼ tsp. sea salt
- 7/8 c. up plus two tablespoons water
- 2 sticks butter, stirred
- 3 T. flour
- 1 ¼ c. milk (divided)
- 1 1/3 c. sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2/3 cup water
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- 6 egg yolks, whisked
- powdered sugar and cinnamon for topping (optional)
- Mix pastry ingredients except for butter. If not using a dough hook, then knead it until it’s smoother.
- Flatten on a floured pastry board into a 6" square.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 15 minutes.
- Roll out to an 18" square and brush off any excess flour.
- Spread 1/3 of the butter out on 2/3 of the square.
- Fold in thirds, unbuttered third first, brushing off any excess flour.
- Roll out to 18" again, butter with another third of the butter, and fold again.
- Roll out to 18"x21" (about the size of a pastry board) and brush off.
- Spread remaining butter over the entire surface.
- Roll up from the short side.
- Cut in two, wrap in plastic, and chill 2 hours or overnight.
- Whisk flour and ¼ c. milk in a bowl.
- Mix water, sugar and cinnamon stick in a small pot. Use a candy thermometer to bring it to 220°F.
- In another pot, scald the remaining 1 c. milk, then mix in the floury milk.
- Remove cinnamon stick from syrup and pour it very slowly into the milk mixture, whisking constantly. (It helps to have an assistant.)
- Whisk in vanilla.
- Let cool somewhat, then whisk in the yolks.
- Optionally, strain. (I forgot this step and nothing seemed to go wrong.)
- Cover (and optionally chill) until the pastry is ready.
- Preheat oven to 550°F.
- Optionally roll out the first chilled roll to about 16" long.
- Slice into about 20 round pieces, preferably using a string. Let rest briefly.
- Optionally, roll out each piece into mini-muffin-tin sized rounds and place into the pan. (Otherwise, place the pieces in the wells of the mini-muffin tin and press into shape with wet fingers.) Try to get a slight edge poking above the rim.
- Fill ¾ full with custard.
- Bake 9 minutes or so.
- Cool briefly in pan, then remove to a rack. Cool until warmish.
- Optionally, top with confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon.
You have three days to repeat the process with the other half of the ingredients.