Lazy Man’s Pasteis de Nata Adventures

If you are wondering what the heck does Pasteis de Nata mean, fret not, that’s just me trying to mess with your heads. Pasteis de nata is a Portuguese term. If we translate word by word, pasteis means pastries and nata means custard, so pasteis de nata basically means custard pastries.

While Portuguese custard pastries still does not sound remotely familiar to the Malaysian/Singaporean ears, it is actually something that I believe most of you have seen or even tasted before. Of course, the ones we have here are imported from Macau so the authenticity is probably slightly compromised.

I first tasted this delicacy when King’s Confectionery introduced them. You know we already have the Chinese version which I also love, but when I first tasted this Portuguese version, I was mind blown! I could not believe something can be so delicious just by adding a European twist to it. Of course, back then I was under the wrong impression that this delicacy is the Portuguese in Macau taking a Chinese snack and giving it a Portugues twist. Now I know it is the other way round. It was the Portuguese who brought this snack to China and the Chinese adapted it.

Guys (and girls), I’m talking about the Portuguese Egg Tarts 葡式蛋挞! Or Pou Tart 葡挞 in short. Pasteis de Nata is basically the Portuguese name of the original thing.

First, let me show you the real thing, then you can compare with the ones that I made later.

Pasteis-de-nata

Now, let’s move on to the ones that I made… I have actually seen how they were made in King’s Confectionery before, so I had a rough idea on how to proceed. To further improve my chances of success, I also watched a video on how a Portuguese baker makes it. There was no dialogue and subtitles to this video, but lets overlook this minor detail because this video is authentically Portuguese.

Okay, let’s begin…

Ingredients:

(This will make 12 tarts)

  • 350ml of full cream milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons of organic soft brown sugar – people typically use white sugar, but I wanted to appease my mom eat healthier
  • 1 tablespoon of flour – no I did not buy flour, I borrowed from my neighbor!
  • 2 pieces of puff pastries
  • 2 knobs of butter

Procedure:

i. Authentic way – Pour milk and sugar in a bowl, mix them together, then add the egg yolks one at a time while mixing, and finally add 1 tablespoon of flour into the mixture and mix well. Lazy Man’s Cut Corners way – Pour milk, sugar, flour and egg yolks in a bowl and mix together. The flour is needed to bind all other ingredients together.

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ii. Authentic way – Cook the mixture over low heat and stir continuously until the mixture becomes sticky on the spatula. Lazy Man’s Cut Corners way – Too tedious, skip this! Why cook the custard filling when it will get cooked in the oven eventually anyway?

iii. Take 1 sheet of puff pastry, slather a knob of butter over it, then roll it up.

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iv. Cut the rolled up pastry into 6 pieces.

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v. With the cut up pastries standing, press down with hand and place them in muffin tin/paper muffin cases/whatever that will help them turn into the tart shell.

vi. Scoop custard filling into each tart shell, filling each to three quarters full.

vii. Authentic way – Repeat step iv to vi with the second sheet of puff pastry. Lazy Man’s Cut Corners way – I’m too lazy for this! Bring out the small sized loaf pan and line the sheet of pastry into the pan. Slather with a knob of butter and pour the remaining custard filling in.

viii. Place the tarts into preheated oven, 200°C for 15 minutes. The one in the loaf pan, 5 more minutes on top of that.

So, how did the tarts look like when done?

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The small tart

It looks… nothing like the real thing! Sh*t! I must have not done a good job of pressing down the pastry. The pastry was probably too thick and expanded more than necessary, infringing on where the custard is supposed to be. And the custard was kind of harder than the expected soft and creamy texture. I suppose 200°C is too hot, blame those stupid recipes I found online!

But the taste was alright though. I mean, the taste was as I remembered how a Pou Tart is..

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The big “tart”

Now the bigger “tart”, the one in the loaf pan. This looks kind of… promising, don’t you think? I mean, the custard are yellow and charred at some parts, exactly like how it should be.

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Let’s cut it and look inside

The inside was, alright. Could be better, but still, alright. At least the custard was holding itself together, although just barely. I think maybe I should have used more flour, maybe next time I should use 2 tablespoons instead of just 1 tablespoon. Or maybe I should not cut corners and cook the filling like how people do it.

And it was delicious. In terms of taste, (I think) I wasn’t very far off compared to store bought ones.

I have 2 more sheets of puff pastries to contend with, so maybe I will attempt this again when I feel like it, and hopefully do a better job next time..

28 Comments

  1. You are so brilliant! I know a lady in Penang who is desperately looking for a smart guy and you fit the bill.
    I love to eat Pasteis de Nata!!! I had to eat good ones in Macau itself and the closest thing is sold at Tong Kei shops.

    • I don’t know about Tong Kei, I used to get them from King’s Confectionery. But they don’t seem to do it anymore nowadays. In fact, there don’t seem to be very many King’s around nowadays. Or maybe it is just Penang.

        • I just discovered that she doesn’t read much, she just look at the pictures. So there’s no hiding from it if she sees pictures, even if I write things like: “My friend ate this” or “I ate this over 5 meals”..

  2. Haha, thought of Coco De Nata (or Nata De Coco?).. Eh I’m not complaining, your pasteis look alright to me, maybe a lil sunken, a lil messy, but it’s homecooked, and we are not pro, so, suen hai kam ger la, ok wor, edible ma tak lor..I like the small tart, am imagining cinnamon rolls 🙂

    • Actually, some of the recipes really call for spreading cinnamon powder over the puff pastry before rolling, so in a way, the real thing is really some sort of a cinnamon roll. 😀

  3. I’m sure there is a solid reason why you should cook the mixture first before pouring them onto the pastries. You lazy bum >_<

    By the way, the first time I read pastries de nata, I tot you did something with Nata de coco. You conpius me lah…

  4. hahaha!!! you score 150% for your courageous and ambitious attempt to bake yourself those pasteis de nata though they don’t seem to be any like what I’ve tasted before.. xD

    you made me searched for the one I had and till now still 念念不忘.. see here..

  5. Oh those egg tarts, have eaten too many of them already during the past years. For some unknown reason all our Chinese friends always made them when we were over and also my wife made them a few times. Sure they taste good but only if you dont eat twenty of them!

  6. “Repeat step 4 to 7” – I only see step 4, where are steps 5 to 7?

    I think your results are very good considering you cut so many corners. 😀

    • Ahh, the numbering format gets messed up with pictures in between! You can check back now, I already edited them. 😐

      I’m going to attempt this again without cutting corners. Maybe next weekend! 😀

      • Ah, you solved it by putting it in Roman numbers. Ah, now I am looking forward to your post without cutting corners for this. All the best!

  7. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect.. and I am sure you BOLEH!! If one cannot do it, that shall be Reanaclaire! hahahaa… Well done on trying, RG!

    • It is not that hard actually, if you use pre-bought puff pastry. I’m sure you can make this too if you want to. 😀

  8. The test of the pudding is in the eating – they all end up at the same place, anyway…so since it’s for own consumption, it’s the taste that counts, who cares what they look like.

    • Well, I care actually, for this one. It felt kind of depressing to see them not turn out as nice as they should be.

  9. Aiyaiyai! You baked Portugese Egg Tarts! Though it does not look like what it should, still…. it was edible! That’s really commendable and I’m sure the next one will turn out better looking. Are you sure your mum is OK with this? 😀

    • The big one in the loaf pan looks ok ma! 😀 😀

      My mom has not (and hopefully will not) seen this. We’ll cross the bridge if and when she does! 😀

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