PASTÉIS DE NATA Adapted from Chef Nuno Mendes (from Simply Algarve Magazine) Make 12 PUFF PASTRY 300g puff pastry Melted butter SUGAR SYRUP 225g caster sugar 1 strip of lemon zest 75 + 75ml water CUSTARD 500ml whole milk 1 cinnamon stick A few strips of lemon zest 40g butter 4 tbsp white plain flour 2 tsp cornflour 4 medium egg yolks PUFF PASTRY Using a pastry brush, grease 12 individual pastry tins (or 12 hole muffin tin) generously with the melted butter, then chill in the fridge. Roll the chilled dough a large 2-3mm thick rectangle, then roll it up lengthways into a tight sausage shape. Slice the pastry into 12 discs slightly thicker than a 1,5-2cm. Work the discs into the tins with your fingers, pressing and stretching them to fill the tins. Chill while you make the custard. SUGAR SYRUP Put the ingredients in a pan with 75ml water and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes until the sugar dissolves. Cook over a low heat until you have a light caramel, swirling the pan occasionally. Carefully add 75ml water and return the pan to a gentle heat to dissolve any solid caramel, then strain it into a heatproof bowl. Set aside. CUSTARD In a pan, warm 300ml milk with the cinnamon stick, lemon peel and 20g butter until just simmering and the butter has melted. In a large bowl, sieve the cornflour and flour into the remaining milk (200ml) and whisk to form a thin paste. Pour the warm milk mixture over the flour paste and leave to infuse for a few mins. Sieve the custard back into the pan, heat gently and keep stirring for 3-4 mins until it reaches the consistency of double cream. Take off the heat and blend in the remaining butter (20g). Slowly add the syrup to the custard and whisk until completely blended. ASSEMBLY & BAKING Heat oven to 260C/240C fan/gas 8. Put a baking tray on the top shelf of the oven to heat up. Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl, then incorporate into the custard. Pour the mixture into the pastry tins, then place on the hot baking tray. Put the tray at the bottom of the oven and bake for 5 mins. After 5 mins, turn the oven onto its grill setting and transfer the tarts to the top shelf. Grill for 2 mins until caramelised – the darker the better. Remove from the oven and brush with a little of the remaining syrup. Let the tarts cool slightly in the moulds before turning out onto a cooling rack.
Pictures and text by Patrícia Nascimento from Coco e Baunilha