Giant Portuguese Custard Tart | Pastel de Nata Gigante

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Giant Portuguese Custard Tart (step by step) – a browned creamy filling, lightly dusted with cinnamon and a crispy, flaky puff pastry.

 


(versão portuguesa na página 2 – Clique aqui)

 

Kikalicious - Giant Portuguese Custard Tart | Pastel de Nata Gigante

Hi there!

I’m back! How are you? Enjoying the spring, I bet. 

Did you try the Abade Priscos Pudding? Looks good, doesn’t it? I assure you that it tastes even better. 😉

Kikalicious - Giant Portuguese Custard Tart | Pastel de Nata Gigante

Today I bring you another Portuguese traditional sweet… Have you ever heard about Pastel de Nata or Portuguese Custard Tart?

Yes… this is one of those… but in the version of a bigger sister (the giant version). Sometimes, we just don’t have that will to make individual doses for a party or even for a Sunday lunch dessert.

Yeah, I know that feeling…

… but we still want to have a dessert made by ourselves. So, I thought “Why not make a Giant Portuguese Custard Tart?” and then I started baking… and baking… and baking again… till I got that brown, beautiful and delicious characteristic top on the custard filling, without burning the pastry.

Kikalicious - Giant Portuguese Custard Tart | Pastel de Nata Gigante

Please, don’t be afraid to let it reach that color! That brown, almost dark, color is what gives that incomparable taste to the filling.

Speaking about filling… isn’t this rich egg custard the most inviting of all custards?

It has a lot of yolks, cream and a pinch of cinnamon…

Kikalicious - Giant Portuguese Custard Tart | Pastel de Nata Gigante

Want more great news??  You can make it in advance! Yes, in advance! The custard can be refrigerated up to 3 days.

The real problem here is making this custard tart crispy and wonderfully browned in a home kitchen oven.

I have a solution!

There are other ways, but I found that this solution is simple and doesn’t require any especial equipment. At least, nothing more than beans, aluminum foil and parchment paper.

Kikalicious - Giant Portuguese Custard Tart | Pastel de Nata Gigante

The unique Portuguese Custard Tarts were created in the 18th century, by catholic monks at the Jerónimos Monastery, in Lisbon.

This custard tart, like so many other Portuguese traditional sweets, was created in a time that convents and monasteries used large quantities of egg whites for ironing clothes. As a common result, they had a lot of leftover yolks… so, what could be better than making cakes and pastries with them? And thus, was born most of the Portuguese desserts heritage.

Kikalicious - Giant Portuguese Custard Tart | Pastel de Nata Gigante

{This post contains affiliate links, meaning I will make a small commission from anything you buy.}

 

Recipe adapted from Traditional Portuguese Cooking by Maria de Lourdes Modesto.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Giant Portuguese Custard Tart | Pastel de Nata Gigante
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Here is a step-by-step tutorial (w/ recipe) for Giant Portuguese Tart - a browned creamy filling, lightly dusted with cinnamon and a crispy, flaky puff pastry.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Portuguese
Serves: 12
Ingredients
Filling
  • 190 g sugar
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • pinch of cinnamon (optional)
  • 10 yolks fresh
  • 2 cups or 500 ml cream (35% fat)
  • 1 lemon peel (without the white part)
Puff Pastry
  • 200 g puff pastry
Material
  • 2 + ½ cup or 500 g dry beans
  • parchment paper
  • aluminium foil
  • tart pan w/ removable bottom 22 cm, 8¾ inches (inner diameter)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 220 ºC / 430 ºF.
Filling
  1. Separate egg whites from the yolks and pass the yolks through a sieve.
  2. In a medium pan, mix flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Add the cream and yolks, mix till well blended and then add the lemon peel without the white part.
  3. Heat this mixture over medium heat, stirring once in a while until it gains consistency. Once the cream mixture is thicker stir continuously. When lifting the spoon you're able to draw, with the cream that falls off, and the drawing doesn't disappear, it's ready.
  4. It took me 30 mins total, using an induction plate, intensity 6 from 9 (maximum power).
  5. Remove from the heat and transfer to another container covered with plastic wrap. Let it cool to room temperature.
Puff Pastry
  1. When the pastry is at room temperature, roll it to 3 mm approximately. Put it over the tart pan and cut off the excess with a very sharp knife.
  2. Place a sheet of parchment paper over the pastry, making sure that the edges are covered.
  3. Fill the cavity with beans and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven and, carefully, take out the beans to a container to cool with help from the parchment paper, so you can save it and reuse it later.
  5. Place the pastry again in the oven for more 5 minutes, without any protection.
  6. Remove and let it cool on a wire rack.
Tart
  1. Increase the oven temperature to maximum (250 ºC, 482 ºF electric/ 260 ºC, 500 ºF gas) and let it warm up for at least 30 minutes. If it beeps, indicating it's ready, it isn't.
  2. With both pastry and filling at room temperature, pour the filling over the pastry and smooth the top.
  3. Fold the long side of an aluminum foil sheet in half and cut a half moon in the center. This way, when you open the sheet of aluminum foil and put it on top of the tart, the pastry is covered but not the filling.
  4. Bake for 5 minutes on the top shelf of the oven, being careful so it doesn't burn.
  5. Then, place it on the bottom shelf, or on the bottom of the oven, for another 5 minutes, being careful so the base of the tart doesn't burn.
  6. Remove and let it cool on a wire rack. When you're able to pick up the pan without burning your hands, unmold and treat yourself. Let it cool completely, if you want a more firm filling or if you can resist =).
Notes
*It's imperative that the oven is hot, otherwise the top of the filling won't have that beautiful color and the puff pastry won't be crispy and flaky.
*If for any reason your oven is cold when you'll bake the tart, the pre-heating time will be between 40 and 60 minutes.
*The filling can be made up to 3 days in advance and kept in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap.
*The crispness will be gone in one day or two. If you can resist for that long! =)
 

Step by step (w/ photos):

– Filling

You can see the first step in the first two images, where the egg whites are being separated from the yolks and then the yolks are being passed through a sieve.

The second step is in the third and fourth images. In the third all the dry ingredients are mixed and in the fourth it has already been added the cream and all the yolks.

The outcome of the third step: cream consistency that allows us to draw with it, as you can see in the picture below.

Kikalicious - Giant Portuguese Custard Tart | Pastel de Nata Gigante

 

 – Puff Pastry

Here, the first step of preparing the puff pastry, before cutting off the excess of pastry:

Kikalicious - Giant Portuguese Custard Tart | Pastel de Nata Gigante

To cut the excess, just hold the knife vertically and lean it to the exterior edge of the tart pan. Cut all the way around and discard what’s left of the pastry.

The second and third step to protect the puff pastry from burning:

After the fifth step the pastry should look like this:

Kikalicious - Giant Portuguese Custard Tart | Pastel de Nata Gigante

– Tart

The second step in the tart assembling looks like this:

The photo on the left shows the cut in the aluminum foil and the final look of the giant tart is on the right photo.

If you really want a brilliant and unforgettable result, closer to the real thing, making your own pastry at home would be a great idea. Obviously, making sure the butter is evenly layered, the puff pastry is thinly rolled and neatly folded.

Kikalicious - Giant Portuguese Custard Tart | Pastel de Nata Gigante

If you are wondering, the literal translation of Pastel de Nata is “Pastry of Cream”. In Belém, Portugal, they have another version that is also called Pastéis de Belém.

One advice: Try them still warm, with a thin layer of cinnamon on top (if you like) alongside a cup of coffee or an espresso. This one tastes even better in spring rainy days.  

Kikalicious - Giant Portuguese Custard Tart | Pastel de Nata Gigante

Cheers to traditional pastry!

Kika

 

{This post contains affiliate links, meaning I will make a small commission from anything you buy.}

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4 Responses

  1. Hi Kika!

    What a lovely outcome this was! I can’t stop thinking about taking this and a hot coffee mug on a road trip and enjoy it in the middle of a mountain!

    Congrats! Kiss!

  2. My wife loooooves custard tarts and was saying just a few days ago that I need to make her one! I’m totally doing this for her! Thanks Kika! 🙂

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