Hello Everyone! As I mentioned in my post last week, East Timor was colonised by Portugal from the 16th century up until 1975, hence why East Timorese food even up to this day is heavily influenced by Portuguese cuisine. A favourite East Timor dessert snack that stuck around is Pastéis de Nata, or in English, Portuguese Egg Tarts. These egg tarts were originally created and made by Catholic nuns in Lisbon over 200 years ago. In East Timor, these tarts are a standard dessert found in fancy hotels, usually paired with a flavourful, aromatic, and organically grown East Timorese coffee.
If you’ve ever had one of these egg tarts, you’ll know that they are one of the greatest pastries to binge-eat! It has a crisp, flaky crust that holds a rich and creamy custard center that is blistered on top from the high heat of an oven. It tastes like home, even if you aren’t from Portugal. They’re just as enchanting as a trip to Lisbon.
Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original where I drew my inspiration from over on the Tasting Table. Now in the original recipe, they make their own puff pastry dough, which you can also do. If you want to save time and energy (like me), you can always use store-bought puff pastry. The results are pretty much the same for a quick, easy, and hassle-free Portuguese Egg Tart.
Now you may notice that the tops may not brown quite as much as the authentic pastéis when baking at home. In fact my oven only goes to a maximum of 250C (482F or gas mark 9) and commercial pastry shops that sell these tarts have oven temperatures that blast up to 430C (800F)!
PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | MAKES 32 TARTS
- 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 cup & 6 tbsp whole milk
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 6 free-range egg yolks
- Puff pastry sheets
- Ground cinnamon, to garnish (optional)
- Cinnamon Sugar Syrup: Combine the sugar, water, and cinnamon stick in a small saucepan. Over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil and cook for about a minute or until all the sugar granules have dissolved. Remove from the heat and let it sit aside until ready to use.
- Egg Filling: Add one cup plus one tablespoon of the whole milk into a separate saucepan over medium heat, until bubbles begin to form around the edges, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- While the milk is heating up, whisk the flour and remaining five tablespoons of milk in a large mixing bowl. Continue to whisk while adding the hot milk in a slow and steady stream.
- Discard the cinnamon stick from the sugar syrup and slowly whisk it into the milk mixture in a steady steam.
- Return the milk and sugar mixture to the saucepan and cook over low heat, whisking constantly until thickened, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and add in the yolks to the mixture. Whisk until well combined, and then strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a mixing bowl. Set aside to cool down slightly.
- Egg Tarts: Preheat oven to 260C (500F or gas mark 10).
- Prepare you muffin tins by lightly greasing them with a little butter.
- Roll out your store-bought puff pastry sheets and cut them depending on the size of your muffin tins. Ideally you’ll want them about 3/4 up the sides of each muffin mold. Evenly flatten the dough against the bottom and sides by pressing down on it.
- Pour about 1 & 1/2 tablespoons of the warm egg filling into each pastry shell.
- Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the shells are golden brown and crisp, the custards are set, and the tops are blackened in spots.
- Let cool in the pans on wire racks for 5 minutes, and then remove them from the tin and onto the wire rack. Sprinkle with cinnamon, serve warm, and enjoy!
– Ally xx