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Pasteis de Belem – Portuguese Custard Tarts

Pasteis de Belem – Portuguese Custard Tarts
A rich egg custard poured into individual pastry-lined muffin cups and baked.

Is a Portuguese egg tart pastry, common in Portugal, the Lusosphere countries and regions (which include Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, Guinea-Bissau, Timor-Leste, Goa, Malacca and Macau, introducing them later in Mainland China), and countries with significant Portuguese immigrant populations, such as Canada, Australia, Luxembourg, the United States, and France, among others.
It is believed that pastéis de nata were created before the 18th century by Catholic monks at the Jerónimos Monastery (Portuguese: Mosteiro dos Jerónimos) in the civil parish of Santa Maria de Belém, in Lisbon: for this reason, they are alternately known as Pastéis de Belém (singular: Pastel de Belém). During Portuguese medieval history, the convents and monasteries of Portugal produced large quantities of eggs, whose egg-whites were in demand for starching of clothes (such as nuns’ habits) and also in wineries (where they were used in the clearing of wines, such as Porto). It was quite common for these Portuguese monasteries and convents to produce many confections with the leftover egg yolks, resulting in a proliferation of sweet pastry recipes throughout the country.

Pasteis de Belem.

Pasteis de Belem – Portuguese Custard Tarts

Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Ready In: 40 Minutes
Servings: 12
Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 (17.5 ounce) package frozen puff
  • pastry, thawed

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C.) Lightly grease 12 muffin cups and line bottom and sides with puff pastry.
  2. In a saucepan, combine milk, cornstarch, sugar and vanilla. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Place egg yolks in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk 1/2 cup of hot milk mixture into egg yolks. Gradually add egg yolk mixture back to remaining milk mixture, whisking constantly. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes, or until thickened. Remove vanilla bean.
  3. Fill pastry-lined muffin cups with mixture and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and filling is lightly browned on top
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