Portuguese Custard Tarts

Escape to gorgeous Portugal with these heavenly Portuguese Custard Tarts! They just might send you packing on your next adventure. 😉

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Have you ever found yourself googling one of the world’s most beautiful places and then spending hours rapt with its incredible beauty; but also feeling gutted ’cause your bank balance won’t even allow a cab ride to the airport, let alone a 10-day vacation in the French Riviera?! (Okay, I just googled the French Riviera and spent 20 minutes going OH. MY. GOD!)

I do this a lot. And the most recent muse was Portugal. It started with a picturesque post on Instagram. I quickly googled Portugal, hit ‘Images’ and found myself sucked in by the colourful towns, tile-roofed homes and pristine blue waters. In this 4-hour virtual trip, I looked for flight tickets and scanned through hotels, researched places one must visit, gawked at pictures of the food and went gaga over it all!

At the tail end of this fantasy, I nursed a fresh wound in my travel-hungry spirit, telling myself that someday I will travel here. For now, I was just going to have to eat some golden Portuguese Custard Tarts; so I set out to make them! 🙂

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This recipe makes 6 tarts. Here’s what you need:

  • Whole Egg – 1 small
  • Egg Yolk – 1
  • Caster Sugar – 58 g
  • Cornflour – 1 tbsp
  • Milk – 200 ml
  • Cinnamon – 1 stick
  • Vanilla Bean – 1
  • Store-bought Frozen All-butter Puff Pastry – 1 sheet, thawed
  • Ground Cinnamon – 3 tsp

Here’s how you make these glorious Portuguese Custard Tarts:

  • Prep: Grease a muffin tin with non-stick baking spray. Preheat the oven to 200 ºC/ 390 ºF. Keep the frozen puff pastry on the counter to thaw.
  • Make the Vanilla Bean Custard: In a heavy bottom pan, mix the egg, egg yolk, sugar, and cornflour until smooth. While stirring, gradually add in the milk and stir till well combined. Split the vanilla bean, scrape out the seeds and add them into the custard mixture. Add in the cinnamon stick and the split vanilla bean. Place the pan on medium heat and whisk continuously until the custard thickens and comes to a slow boil. Once done, take it off the heat, strain it into a glass bowl and cover until using.
  • Prep the Puff Pastry: Take a sheet of puff pastry and set it on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle ground cinnamon over the surface of the pastry sheet and spread it with your fingertips. Starting with the longer edge of the pastry, start rolling it away from you tightly until you have a log. Divide the log into 6 equal portions and flatten each portion into a disc. Place each disc into the cavity of the muffin tin, and using your finger press it down and up the sides to form a cup-shaped shell.
  • Bake the Custard Tarts: Fill each puff pastry shell with the prepared vanilla bean custard, about three-quarters of the way. Pop the Portuguese Custard Tarts into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the tops are caramelized. Once baked, leave the tarts on the kitchen counter to cool completely, or serve warm.

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Also known as Pastéis de Nata, these Portuguese Custard Tarts boast of a truly great texture profile. First comes the flaky, golden puff pastry that crunches and crackles when bitten into, creating a crumbly, yet delightful mess. Then comes the egg and vanilla custard – smooth, silky, luscious and creamy, dotted with speckles of vanilla, bringing the lightest crack to every morsel. And then the deep amber, crinkled, caramelized top – a soft skin that breaks easily and lends a slight chewiness.

Now on to the flavours – can you imagine how beautiful the combination of buttery pastry and sweet-scented vanilla bean custard is? If you can’t, you’ve got to try it! It’s a bit of velvety heaven tucked into moreish puff pastry baked to perfection. The surprise element – and the ingredient that heightens the Portuguese Custard Tart eating experience – is the gentle hint of cinnamon. It livens up this delicate dessert like no other! I’d call this simple twist quite the work of genius!

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After all this, you’re probably thinking, ‘Why on earth does this recipe call for store-bought puff pastry?’ I love making everything from scratch. And so with this recipe, I tried to make puff pastry at home. But I live in the desert with temperatures hitting 42 ºC/ 108 ºF and 50% humidity, so let’s just say it was a disaster of monumental proportions. That, and I really wanted to have a slice of scenic Portugal on my plate, and fast! Hence, I resorted to frozen puff pastry sheets.

Nevertheless, I urge you to make your own puff pastry if you have the time and the weather allows it. I know I will be making some when it gets cooler here, ’cause I’m already counting the days until I make these addictive custard tarts again!

That’s it for now; short and sweet. I do hope you give this recipe a whirl, Dear Reader. It’s all kinds of delightful, and just the kind of dish/dessert that can make you fall in love with a place even before you’ve set foot in it! ❤

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Want to Pin This recipe for later? Here you go…

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Psst… If you’d like to, you could come check me out on Pinterest! I pin a tonne of fun stuff – chocolate, lots of dessert, easy weeknight recipes; and home decor (I’m obsessed with boho chic living rooms!)😛

Also, for regular updates on what’s happening in The Foodscape kitchen, follow me on Instagram at @thefoodscape! You’ll love all the deliciousness there, I promise! ❤

Author: Winola Peris

Food blogger, photographer & stylist with big dreams in my head, passion in my heart and a lot of hustle in my bones!

5 thoughts

  1. Wow, they look amazing Winola! You have that perfect bit of dark caramelization on top which is what I hear Portuguese tarts should have. I have only made my own puff pastry twice but perhaps I will try again another time. I can imagine how much of a struggle it must have been when trying to make it on a hot day. Keep up the great work!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so so much, Nick, for your incredibly kind words! I love the dark caramelization, and what’s best is that it’s not hard to achieve at all. Doesn’t take extra broiling like a Creme Brulee would. And yes, working on puff pastry on a hot day is a mammoth task. Too much hard work for no payoff. Gladly there are store-bought alternatives to the rescue! 🙂 Thank you, again, Nick! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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