Portuguese Cream Custard Tarts

Suzy Rhodes Thu, 07/17/2014 - 10:38
Cream Custard Tarts

In 1820 after the liberal revolution, Convents and Monasteries were forced to close and in order to make a living the Jeronimos Monastery began selling sweet pastries.  These pastries became popular and were known as ‘Pasteis de Belem’.

By 1837 these pastries were being made in the building next to the refinery which was close to the Monastery.  Pasteis de Belem remains the same today, using the ‘secret recipe’ from the Monastery that has been handed down through generations.  I wonder if I can find that secret recipe and try to make those delicious Pasteis de Belem.

Pasteis de Nata

There are many pastry shops around Lisbon that sell Pasteis de Nata, Cream Custard Tarts, I suppose not quite the same as Pasteis de Belem, I wonder what the difference is.  I'm thinking a trip to Portugal will do me good just so I can taste the difference.  These pastry shops became a favorite daily stop for our son Jason when he served his two year mission over there. I have this delicious recipe that Jason came home with, one of many he collected from the locals.  After I made them he said it was just like the ones he tasted in the pastry shops, he was in heaven! One happy mama.

NOTE:  My first batch tasted good, but Jason said they needed to be more light and fluffy. So I decided to mix the egg yolk and hot milk with my electric mixture, giving it a good beating and then added to the milk mixture. It turned out fabulous. The crust also needed to be paper thin, so it crumbles like a cracker. I'm learning from the best!




SourceMy Son
Prep time
30 minutes
Cooking time
30 minutes
Total time
1 hour


1 c
whole milk (1/2 cold 1/2 hot)
3 T
1 c
1⁄2 t
vanilla extract
Egg Yolks (room temperature)
1 pk
Frozen puff pastry (thawed )
2 T
unsalted butter (room temperature)
powdered sugar


1. Preheat oven at 375°F
2. Meanwhile, grease with butter each bottom rounded muffin pan (if you don't have one – cupcake muffin pan will work too). Line each muffin pan with pastry – try to make it paper thin.
3. In a saucepan, combine the ½ cup cold milk, cornstarch, sugar and vanilla
4. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens
5. Place the egg yolks in a bowl and whisk in the hot milk, mix until smooth
6. Gradually stir in the egg mixture to the milk mixture, whisking constantly over heat until thickened.
7. Fill each pastry-lined muffin cup with the custard and bake in preheated oven for 25 – 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown
8. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and/or cinnamon