#17: Portugal – Pasteis De Nata

My second attempt at making these little egg tart treats.

As I’ve mentioned previously, a few years back I would host a dinner each month centered around the food of a country I’d traveled to. When it came to cooking the food of Portugal, I may have tried to do a few too many things at once. And by too, I mean two exactly. I made a Franceshina (which is essentially like an open faced sandwich with a complex booze sauce consisting of port, beer, whisky and some other things) for the main dish but then I also attempted to make Pasteis De Nata, delicate little egg tarts that require a lot more attention than I had that day. And they turned into puffy popovers. A complete disaster. Though later I would go on to watch an episode of “The Great British Baking Show” where the task of making these were presented to the bakers and Paul Hollywood indicated “a lot can go wrong here.” So I felt a bit vindicated that I wasn’t a complete fool of a baker, just a distracted one.

I traveled to Portugal in the summer of 2018. This was the same trip where I tacked on Madrid for two days at the end of it. The country was beautiful and I loved all the tile work and bright colors. I traveled to both Lisbon and Porto and while I missed my train stop in the middle of the country for a city called Coimbra, an extra night in Porto wasn’t all that bad of a trade

The food scene here was also very strong. I had a lot of fabulous seafood dishes and found that I really do love port. As far as important “research” into quality Pasteis de Nata…yeah I definitely had a handful of these from Pasteis de Belem, the infamous shop for these tasty treats.

So fast forward to April of this year and I was just starting to break in the kitchen in our new townhome. So I decided to make these again. This time, the end result definitely looked a lot more like the real thing and the taste was pretty good. I was learning my new oven and the broiler setting but I think I managed to get the right bake. All in all these were most certainly a labor of love and a lot of work for 12 custards that wouldn’t really keep for more than a day or so. So save yourself the trouble and just to go Lisbon to get the real thing. 🙂 Here’s the recipe I used: https://leitesculinaria.com/7759/recipes-pasteis-de-nata.html

Overall Level of Effort: 5

Skill Level: Advanced

Would Make It Again? No. But I’d certainly eat these again. And again. And again.

Additional Notes: The temperature of the oven, the humidity of the room, among other factors, make a bit different in making custard. Also time management. I decided to make these on a Sunday afternoon for just Matt and I, so there wasn’t a specific deadline or group of people to cater to. The prior time I had 6 friends crammed into a tiny apartment and the multi-tasking (and the custard sitting out for a while) definitely made the difference. So if you’re going to attempt these, be sure you have time set aside and a familiarity with your equipment/appliances.

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