Pasteis de Nata or Can I be a Cupcake, please? (IMBB no.13)
March 23rd, 2005

First I have to state that, yes, I know what a cupcake or muffin is. And yes, I do know, Pasteis de Nata aren’t exactly the same… BUT: Ever since I first tried those little delights about a year ago, my muffin tray has never seen any muffins again – all I’m using it for now are…Pasteis de Nata! So I think they have the right [hopefully] to take part in IMBB no.13, hosted by Maki of “I was just really very hungry.”. They are what they are…little, very delicate cakes baked in cup-shape ;)

Pasteis de Nata

We’ve been addicts since we tried them last year in their original environment – Lisbon. A wonderful city, to good to be true for any sweet tooth. Pastelarias (little pastry shops) are placed at almost every corner and their numerous pastries are simply delicious. Our favorite breakfast place is Pastelaria Versailles (Avenida da República 15A) with a traditional coffeehouse atmosphere of bygone days and a huge variety of very good food. Great for watching people, mostly locals, the crowd is completely different on weekends (more elegant/prominent) or during the week (hectic business people).

Pastelaria Versailles

Back at home we tried different recipes for our new favorite pastries, some use cream, some twice the amount of eggs, but it took some time until we figured out, how we liked them best. And finally, this is our variation of Pasteis de Nata. Never as good as they were in Lisbon, but verrrry close…

Defrost puff pastry and stack single layers. I use a wet brush, this way they stick together much easier. Roll the pastry out to a 25x35cm rectangle (approximately). Make a roll -start with the shorter side- and chill it in the freezer until it becomes firm, but not frozen (about 20 minutes).

Now some tricky mathematics :) Trial and error has shown me, I will get 20 to 24 Pasteis out of these ingredients. So my method is, I’ll cut the dough roll in half – 2 rolls (each for 12 Pasteis). Cut each half in halves again – 4 rolls (each for 6 Pasteis). Finally cut each roll in halves again (each makes 3 Pasteis). Now you have to cut each piece in three equally thick slices. I find it much easier this way. If I start cutting single pieces from just one roll, at least I always end up with either too many or too few slices… Now manually form them into little cups with your hand make them fit in the greased 12-hole muffin tray. Preheat oven to 225-250° Celsius.

Heat up milk, vanilla pod (split lengthways and scraped out seeds) & butter in a pot. Remove the vanilla pod when boiling, add previously combined sugar, salt and starch. Stir well. Bring to a boil again for a short moment until it thickens and set aside to cool (for at least 10 minutes).

Add egg and egg yolks, whisk well and fill the mixture into the pastry shells – half-full, max. 2/3 is enough. Otherwise the custard will rise over the pastry and burn onto the tray…

Bake for 10-12 minutes. The pastries should become quite dark on top with ‘black dots’, which is typical for the Portuguese Pasteis de Nata. Being impatiently as I am sometimes, I rescued mine too soon – again…

Before serving, dust pastries with cinnamon.

Pasteis de Nata

Pasteis de Nata

Recipe source: finally our own creation, we mixed up different recipes to our liking

Required time: takes about 45 minutes

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Ingredients (makes 24)

1 pack puff pastry (350 - 400 g), frozen

1/2 liter milk

250g sugar

30g starch

1 pinch salt

2 tsp butter

1 egg

3 egg yolk

1 pod vanilla

cinnamon, to decorate

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