Hi.

Welcome! I'm a new Pittsburgher and mom who is untrained in both life and cooking, but that just makes them both more exciting!

Pasteis de Nata (Cream Tarts)

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This is another recipe that I made out of A World of Cake (the first one was the peanut johnnycakes).  Why is it that I get a book all about cake and the first two recipes I make aren't the delicious-looking cakes that the book is filled with?  Who is this woman and what is wrong with her brain?

Just to fill you in on the history of this recipe (because the origins of a recipe are the best part): In the 1800s two nuns at Jeronimos Convent opened a bakery to sell custardy tarts they called pasteis de belem.  Visitors loved them and they were soon world-famous.  The original recipe is still a secret and now all derivative recipes are called pasteis de nata.  In Portugal these tarts are oftentimes used as birthday cakes.  Who knew?

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Oh, hello there little smushy-faced nom nom in a mismatched outfit!  Would you like a cream tart?

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Pasteis de Nata (Cream Tarts) Printer-friendly version

Pastry: 2 cups all purpose flour 3 tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon salt 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into tablespoon pieces 5-7 tablespoons cold water

Vanilla Custard: 6 egg yolks 1 1/2 cups heavy cream 1 cup sugar 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping: 1/2 teaspoon 1/4 cup light brown sugar

To make the pastry: Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor or blender. (I used a food processor and will definitely need to buy a bigger one before making this again... it was a bit of a mess.  You could also do this by hand.)  Add the butter and pulse to form a coarse meal.  Gradually add the water, pulsing, until the dough begins to hold together. Wrap the dough up and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes.

To bake the pastry cups: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour two cupcake pans.  Transfer the cold dough to a floured surface and roll it out into 1/8 inch thickness (this is probably thinner than you think... I learned from experience when my dough didn't make enough cups!).  cut the dough into 4 1/2 inch rounds.  Set each round in a prepared cup of the cupcake pan.  Bake the cups for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned.  Let them cool in the pans.

To make the custard: Beat the egg yolks with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes, until light.  In a separate bowl, combine the cream, sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla, and stir until the cornstarch and sugar dissolve.  Beat in the egg yolks. 

To bake the cakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon topping.  Fill the pastry cups (in the cupcake pans) 2/3 full with the custard.  Bake for 10 minutes, then pull out and sprinkle with brown sugar mixtures.  Return to the oven and bake for 10-15 more minutes until the custard centers are puffy but still jiggly when shaken.  Let cool in the pans. 

Serve topped with whipped cream (though I liked them just as well without). 

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