Custard: 3 tbsps plain flour, 1 ¼ cups milk, 1 ⅓ cups caster sugar, ½ tsp vanilla essence, 6 egg yolks, 1 tsp cinnamon.
Serves: 9 Preparation: 2 hours (plus overnight)
As part of the World Cup Food Challenge 2014, this recipe represents a traditional meal of Portugal. Pastel de nata are stunning little cinnamon custard tarts, with a gorgeous flaky croissanty crust that has to be tasted to be believed. It's a LOT of work to make these, but they're well worth it and they freeze well.
1) To make the dough for the pastry case, please see up to step 5 of my croissant recipe.
2) To make the custard, bring the sugar and cinnamon to the boil in a pan with 2/3 cup of cold water until a syrup forms- don't stir it!
3) Separate the milk with 1/4 in a bowl and 1 cup in a pan. Whisk the flour in with the bowl of milk until smooth and set aside. Meanwhile, scald the milk in the pan, then whisk in the flour-milk mixture.
4) Add the cinnamon sugar syrup into the hot milk and flour whilst whisking furiously (you might want to ask someone to help!) then take off the heat once it is a smooth, just pourable consistency. Stir in the vanilla and set aside.
5) When the mixture has cooled just enough for you to comfortably touch it without swearing (about the temperature of a cup of tea if that helps!) whisk in the egg yolks and set aside to cool.
6) Pre-heat the oven to 290 degrees celcius and grab your pastry from the fridge. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface to about 1cm thickness and cut it into squares the approximate size of your chosen muffin tin dimples. Wet your fingers and press the dough into the muffin tin, moulding with your fingers until you've created a "lip" about 1/2cm above the muffin tin surface and pour in the custard.
7) Bake until the edges of the pastry are brown and the custard has a good wobble on. Serve warm, sprinkled with icing sugar and cinnamon.