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tartsplatedPasteis de Nata are something I came across watching Micheal Portillo travelling across Portugal by train on the TV. As a huge custard tart fan,  custard is one of my favouritest things, I was intrigued to find out what the difference was. We did some research, a taste test and decided that they were pretty good. It turns out they are also a good way of using up egg yolks. The custard is slightly thicker texture to the UK version and involves puff pastry instead of shortcrust. The real difference comes down to whether you are a nutmeg fan or not! If you are gluten free substitute the puff pastry for Gluten free shortcrust instead.

Link to measurement conversion chart


  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 300ml full fat milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean essence or 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 x 375g packs of ready rolled puff pastry or the equivalent of gluten free shortcrust

You will also need

  • 2 x 12 hole bun tins or make 2 batches if you only have 1 tin.
  • 2 x small saucepans, or 1 washed up between uses
  • a mixing bowl or jug


  1. Pre heat the oven to 180c
  2. Heat the milk in a milk pan until hot but not boiling
  3. Put the egg, yolks, sugar, vanilla and cornflour in a large jug then whisk to combine.
  4. Gradually add the milk to the eggy mixture and whisk until smooth, transfer to a clean saucepan
  5. Heat, stirring, over a medium heat until the mixture thickens, do not boil.
  6. Transfer the custard to a bowl, cover with cling film and allow to cool.
  7. Place one sheet of pastry on top of the other then roll tightly on the long end to form a swiss roll effect then cut into 24 even sized discs
  8. Flatten the discs with a rolling pin until they are the right size to fit the bun tin, approx. 10 cm round.
  9. Fill each pastry round with a teaspoon of custard then bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the pastry is golden and crisp. The custard may start to take on a deep brown colour on top and rise, it will sink again once cooled
  10. Eat whilst warm if possible and enjoy!


Serving suggestions and variations

  • These little pastries are best served warm the same day. If storing it is best to pop them bac in a warm oven for 10 mins before you serve them
  • Try adding a few berries or jam to the tarts before you add the custard
  • Sprinkle the tops with a little cinnamon or nutmeg before you bake
  • Don’t like puff pastry then try shortcrust instead but avoid the extra rich pastry as it is too crumbly for custard tarts
  • NB, do not overfill with custard, they will boil over – a waste of good custard

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We tried a number of variations, some use more egg yolks, we found this version on BBC Good Food to be the best. Having watched the program and seen the pastry rolled into spirals and pressed out by hand, this was the only recipe to attempt to replicate the process. If you just cut discs from the flat sheet of puff pastry the pastry case swells up and pushes all the custard out. That is a serious waste. Although he didn’t give me the recipe I thank Micheal Portillo for showing me the way.

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