Portuguese Custard Tarts (Pasteis de Nata) – Food Wishes

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hello this is chef john from food wishes
comma with Portuguese custard tarts
that’s right I’m going to show you how
to make pasta is Danada which are truly
one of the world’s most amazing pastries
and believe it or not invented by
Portuguese monks many many centuries ago
which kind of makes sense I mean if
you’re gonna take a vow of poverty and a
vow of chastity that is going to free up
a lot of time to practice your pastry
skills and man did they perfect this
recipe so with a very sincere thank you
to their harana mites let’s go ahead and
get started with what is basically the
simplest dough you can make which
consists of nothing more than flour some
salt and some water and then what we’ll
do is grab a wooden spoon and give this
a mix until it just comes together and
pulls away from the bowl and fair
warning this is going to be a very wet
and sticky dough and once those three
ingredients come together and look a
little something like this
we’ll go ahead and transfer that onto a
very well floured surface and we’ll dust
a little more flour over the top and
then we’re just going to give it a few
seconds of kneading and circular rubbing
until we get that into some kind of semi
rounded shape and once that’s been
accomplished we will dust on a little
more flour and then we’ll cover that
with our bowl and let it rest about 15
or 20 minutes and no peeking and all
we’re doing is letting the dough relax a
little bit so it’s a little easier to
work with and then what we’ll do after
about 15 or 20 minutes is uncover it and
then using as much flour as necessary
we’re gonna press roll and stretch this
into a square about an eighth of an inch
thick and yes this would be a lot easier
to work with if the dough is drier but
you’re just not gonna get that same
final effect so even though it’s gonna
be a little annoying to work with we
really do want to start with a very
sticky dough and then what we’re gonna
do once we have that rolled and
stretched out into a square is apply the
only other ingredient here some very
very soft spreadable butter and what we
want to do is apply exactly 1/3 of our
butter to exactly 2/3 of this square and
as we’re spreading this we’re gonna try
to leave about an inch of the outside
edge unbuttered and by the way if you
try doing this with butter that’s not
it won’t work or you’re going to end up
tearing and pulling your dough so make
sure it’s very very soft and spreadable
what we’ll do once we have 2/3 covered
is take the third it’s not buttered and
flip that over and then we will flip
that other side over to complete our
letter fold and yes I did flip that
first side over too far so I kind of had
a stretch just to make it fit and toured
a little but don’t worry it’s all gonna
be fine
I just went ahead and squared that up
the best I could and then with the help
of our bench scraper we’ll go ahead and
turn the dough and we will sprinkle on
even more flour and then we’ll give that
a flip and then apply even more flour
did I mention this was sticky so do not
be shy with the flour and then once we
do have that turned in floured we’ll go
ahead and roll that out into a
rectangular shape about an eighth of an
inch thick and if you’re really good at
this you’re not gonna have any bubbles
inside which is why I have bubbles but
as I kept rolling those eventually got
pressed out but anyway like I said we’ll
go ahead and roll that out into a
rectangle and if you have to give it a
little stretch here and there don’t be
afraid and then once that’s set we’re
going to repeat the thing we just did
okay we’re gonna take another third of
our butter and spread it over two-thirds
of our surface and then repeat the
letter fold by taking the unbuttered
third and folding that over and then the
opposite third over the top of that and
then we’ll square it up and even it out
the best we can and then once that’s
been accomplished before we applied the
last of our butter I’m gonna go ahead
and transfer this onto a baking sheet
and pop this in the fridge for just
about 10 minutes to chill that butter
just a little bit but I wouldn’t go too
much longer because we don’t want it to
get hard so I popped it in there for
about 10 minutes before pulling it back
out for the final rolling and good news
this is the last step so we’ll go ahead
and flour that generously and roll that
out into a square about 1/8 of an inch
thick maybe a touch thicker all right
let’s say 3/16 and then what we’ll do
once that’s been rolled out is apply the
last third of our soft butter and this
time we can spread our butter all the
way to the edges except on the top edge
all right the top we’re going to leave
about an inch to an inch-and-a-half
unbuttered because that’s where we’re
gonna seal our dough after we roll it
and what we’ll do once that’s all
buttered is take a wet finger and ever
so slightly moisten that unbuttered edge
and then to finish this up instead of
folding it what we’re gonna do is slowly
but surely roll this out from the bottom
very nice and tight attempting to get
this is uniformly shaped as possible and
while I’m doing this I should mention
once we roll this up we’re gonna have to
wrap it and refrigerate it for a few
hours preferably overnight before we can
start using it so just a little time
management heads up and I actually did
this exact recipe last night so I’d have
one to work with so yes I did two of
these rolls well actually technically
three since I tested one of these rolls
using pre-made puff pastry which was a
dismal failure and I’ll talk about that
in the blog post but anyway we’re gonna
continue rolling that all the way up to
our unbuttered slightly damp edge which
should hopefully seal this tube nicely
and then if we want we can sprinkle on a
little more flour and do some final
shaping and evening out but mine was
pretty uniform so I’m gonna go ahead and
wrap that in plastic and like I said pop
that in the fridge preferably overnight
and yes in case you’re wondering you can
absolutely freeze this dough just wrap
it up nice and tight and then let it
thaw overnight in the fridge when you’re
ready to use it but anyway once our
dough is set we can move on to the
custard which is going to start with a
simple syrup so to the saucepan we’re
going to add some way sugar a splash of
water one cinnamon stick and the peeled
zest from one lemon and make sure you
wash your lemon in hot water first in
case it has any weird wax on the outside
and then once we have that all together
we’re gonna head to the stove and we’ll
place that over medium heat and we’re
gonna want to bring this up to a boil
and by the way you’re not supposed to
stir this I do because I can’t help
but it is totally unnecessary and you
probably shouldn’t but anyway all we
need to do here is boil this until it
reaches the temperature of 210 to 215
degrees Fahrenheit or as a Portuguese
monk would call it 100 degrees Celsius
and as soon as that happens we will turn
it off
and there I go again stirring it for no
apparent reason but anyway we’ll simply
turn that off and reserve it until our
final component is done and that’s going
to be our customer base which is going
to consist of some flour some salt and
some cold milk which we’re gonna whisk
for a few minutes before how do you do
the stove and then what we’re gonna do
once we’ve list that all together very
very thoroughly has placed that over
medium heat and cook it stirring until
it thickens up oh and I should mention
I’ve actually streamlined this part of
the recipe since classically the flour
is mixed with a small amount of milk and
then the rest of the milk is he did or
tempered as we say and then everything
is whisked together but I figured since
we’re gonna strain it anyway let’s just
take a chance and it actually worked out
fine so yes I guess I am sort of saying
they’ve been doing it wrong for
centuries in Portugal but hey at least
now they know but anyway like I said
we’re gonna cook this over medium
whisking pretty much the whole time
until our mixture thickens up at which
point you should have something that
looks very similar to this and then what
we’re gonna want to do is turn off the
heat and let this sit for at least 10
minutes before whisking in our egg yolks
or if you’re a super fast whisker you
could probably mix them in right away
but to play safe it’s not a bad idea to
wait about 10 minutes and we’ll go ahead
and whisk those yolks in and once we
have those incorporated we’ll go ahead
and finish this off by adding our sugar
syrup plus we will also add a spoon of
vanilla extract and I should mention the
vanilla cinnamon and lemon should all be
considered optional all right a lot of
the so-called authentic recipes don’t
call for those so you decide I mean you
are for all the harana might of would
taste right but I like them so I put
them and we’ll give that all one final
mix and then like I said we are gonna
strain this which is gonna catch our
lemon peel cinnamon stick and any
undissolved lumps or chunks of flour
which I didn’t really have any of and
the reason we’re straining this into a
measuring cup is because that’s gonna
make it a lot easier to pour into our
pastry shells and forming those is gonna
be the next step so we’ll simply set our
custard aside and I’m gonna go ahead and
pull out the dough I made last night
which because I wasn’t filming it came
out a little neater but the exact same
recipe and we’ll go ahead and unwrap
that and cut a little bit off both ends
but don’t discard that in case we have
to do a little bit of patching and then
we’ll take our knife and score this into
exactly 12 even pieces and then let me
go ahead and cut a couple of these so
you can get a good look at what’s going
on here okay right here you should be
able to see that swirl of dough and
butter and don’t forget in the dough
layer there’s actually layers of butter
from the two folds we did earlier so
that’s exactly what we want it to look
like and then to shape the dough what
we’ll do is place one of these rolls at
the bottom of each muffin cup and we’ll
dip our thumb into some cold water and
then we’ll push that right down into the
center of that roll and then we’ll
slowly but surely spread that out across
the bottom and then eventually up the
sides and it might not seem like you
have enough dough but you do okay we
really want to get this stuff nice and
thin and dipping your fingers in cold
water really is key here since that’s
going to make it way easier to push and
spread that dough up the sides and one
huge tip here make sure you go at least
an eighth of an inch out past the top
okay because what’ll happen if you don’t
get these high enough is your custard is
gonna bake up over the top and run down
the sides and it will burn and look
black so again using wet fingers make
sure you smear and spread that stuff all
the way up not only to get it nice and
thin but like I said so we have at least
an eighth of an inch popping up above
the edge and if you want you can do this
step a little bit ahead and then just
refrigerate that pan as is and fill it
with the custard later and then what
we’re gonna do once our tart shells have
been formed is go ahead and pour in our
custard batter but not all the way up we
only want to go about three quarters all
right this customer is gonna kind of
puff up as it bakes and if you fill them
up too high as I touched on earlier it’s
gonna spill over and get between the
dough in the pan and it definitely will
burn since this is gonna go in such a
hot oven so like I said we’ll just go
three quarters of the way and that’s it
once we have those filled we will
carefully transfer that into the center
of a super hot 550 degree oven or
whatever your highest setting is and we
will bake those for about 12 to 14
minutes or until our pastry is well
browned and bubbling in butter and our
custard is just barely set so four one’s
done in a home oven those are looking
pretty nice all right in Portugal the
ovens are even hotter so the top of the
custards get even more caramelized and
but you know what these were looking
just fine and right here you can get a
great look at all that lamination which
is that layer of butter between the
pastry and while admittedly that took a
little bit of work to do
that really is the secret behind these
incredible tarts and we’re definitely
gonna want to let these cool a little
bit before we try to pull one out
although they are supposed to be served
warm so don’t wait too long so I waited
a little bit and went ahead and pop one
out and as you can see our pastry got
beautifully browned and if you look
close you can actually see the spiral
from our roll dough but anyway let me go
ahead and bite in so I can taste in here
how we did and yes it really was that
crispy and the perfect delivery system
for that rich creamy custard although it
should have cooled a little bit more
since these really should be served warm
and not hot so I finished eating that
one while I transferred the rest onto a
rack to cool a little bit more and after
about 10 minutes I plated one up so I
could take some pictures but more
importantly to another one in the
contrast here between that ultra crispy
flaky buttery crust and that soft creamy
custard subtly scented with cinnamon and
lemon is nothing like I’ve ever
experienced eating any other pastry I
mean it really is truly remarkable and
yes there was a little bit of work
involved in making that pastry but when
you finally get around to enjoy these
you will regret nothing except maybe not
making a double batch okay you should
probably make 24 of these but anyway
that’s it
how I do Portuguese custard tarts I’m
not sure whether you have a bucket list
or not and if you do whether it has a
section for pastries but if it does stop
whatever you’re doing and add these to
that list
so needless to say I really do hope you
give these a try soon and you should
definitely head over to food whooshes
calm for all the ingredient amounts of
more info as usual and as always enjoy

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