Macau ‘Portuguese’ Custard Tarts (Pasteis de Nata)

There are lots of different types of custard tarts all from different countries and cultures, all with a slightly different list of ingredients and cooking method. Yesterday I was reminded of the deliciously buttery ‘Portuguese’ custard tarts I had in Macau, an island of the main land of China, which is an ex-Portuguese colony. Due to the history of the island, Macau is a fantastic place to visit to for it’s Chinese-Portuguese fusion food and exploring the what remains of the colonial town. In contrast, post-colonial Macau is also full of over-the-top 5 star hotels and is said to have a gambling industry seven times the size of Vegas!

These custard tarts are made from a buttery puff pastry and are baked until they are caramelised, almost burnt, on top. Not being able to get the Portuguese custard tarts out of my head, I set about finding a recipe and go to work on a cold and rainy Saturday afternoon…

Portuguese Custard Tarts - Pasteis de Nata

Portuguese Custard Tarts – Pasteis de Nata
Flaky puff pastry and not a soggy bottom in sight!

After quite a bit of internet searching, comparing recipes for the original Portuguese recipe and the Macau recipe, I decided to go for the one on due to the rave reviews and the helpful suggestions on how to adjust the recipe. Luckily for me, most recipes I found called for using ready made puff pastry, so who am I to question this? 🙂

After researching this recipe so much I made some changes to the recipe, so this is the final list of ingredients I used:

  • 300 ml whole milk
  • 150 ml double cream
  • 1 tbs cornflour
  • 0.5 tsp vanilla paste (I don’t have vanilla pods, too expensive!)
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 100 g sugar
  • 500g pack of puff pastry

The method I used was pretty much the same so no need to tell you about that!

Mini Portuguese Custard Tarts

Mini Portuguese Custard Tarts

The recipe was for 12 cupcake sized tarts, however I had pastry and custard left over so I ended up making some mini ones too in a mini cupcake pan. Great for little kids who don’t ever finish a whole dessert for themselves…

These tarts are so delicious and buttery, however even though I halved the sugar suggested in the original recipe they were still really sweet! So next time I’ll reduce the sugar event more and maybe add even more double cream to make them extra rich!

Macau Portuguese Custard Tarts

Macau Portuguese Custard Tarts

Since making this recipe, I have come across a  which includes a pinch of salt and a little lemon juice in the custard. Definitely worth a try to balance out the flavours…

Actual Portuguese Tarts bought in Macau (January 2012)

Actual Portuguese Tarts bought in Macau (January 2012)

As you can see from the photo above, there are different versions of the tarts available. I think we bought three custard flavour, two coconut milk flavour and one ‘sharks fin’ flavour from a well known bakery. They were straight out of the oven and I burnt my mouth on them, but boy were they worth it!