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pastel de nata

Passionfruit Pastel de Nata

Pastel de nata is the traditional Portuguese pastry created, in part, to use up the surplus egg yolks after using the whites to starch the priests' collars. Adding lilikoi (passionfruit) merges island flavors with European ones, in the manner of malasadas (Portuguese style doughnuts) or sweet bread infused with tropical fruits.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 30 mins
Resting Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Portuguese

Equipment

  • muffin tin, mini muffin tin, or pastel de nata tins

Ingredients
  

Dough

  • 1 cup Flour
  • ¼ cup Water
  • Pinch of Salt
  • ¼ cup ½ a stick of Butter, ideally sliced horizontally to create a “plank” of butter

Custard Filling

  • ½ cup Sugar
  • cup Water
  • ½ Vanilla bean
  • 2 T Flour
  • ½ Milk
  • 3 Egg yolks use the whites in these pavlovas
  • 2 T Passionfruit juice seeds removed (from about 2 passionfruit)

Instructions
 

  • Combine flour, water and salt into a dough. Allow to rest for 5-15 minutes.
  • Roll the dough into a rectangle and place the slab of butter in the center. Fold the left and right portions of the dough toward the center, sealing the edges. Smash the center of the dough to further flatten the butter and then roll the dough into a new rectangle.
  • Continue the process of folding the edges in thirds, and then rolling the dough, rotating the dough one-quarter turn after each roll. If your kitchen is warm and/or the butter is “leaking” out of the dough, then refrigerate the dough before continuing.
  • Repeat the process at least three and up to six times. The last time, roll out the dough into an even rectangle, and chill.
  • Roll into a tight “jelly roll” starting on one of the long sides. Chill the dough once more before slicing into ¾ inch - 2 inch pieces, depending on the size of your muffin tins or pastel de nata tins.
  • Place the slice into the bottom of the tin or muffin cavity so the spiral is flat against the bottom. You want a spiral to be visible on the bottom of your finished product.
  • Press your thumb into the center of the slice and gently encourage the dough up the sides to make a pastry “cup” to hold your custard. Continue with the rest of the dough.
  • Heat the oven to 500 degrees.
  • In a small saucepan combine sugar, water and vanilla bean. Bring the syrup to a boil, then set a time and boil for two minutes before removing from the heat.
  • In another pan, combine the flour and milk over medium heat, whisking until combined. You are looking for a thin, but cohesive texture, not unlike thick glue or honey. Add a little more milk or flour if needed.
  • Remove the vanilla bean from the sugar syrup (and pop into a container of sugar to make vanilla sugar, if desired). Gently whisk the syrup into the flour mixture, followed by the egg yolks and then the passion fruit juice.
  • Carefully pour the custard into the pastry cups, and bake at 500 degrees for 10-15 minutes, depending on size.
  • You can broil for a minute at the end, if you want a little more color on top. The pastel de nata are done when the bottom is crisp and brown and the custard is set (I usually pop one out with a small spatula to check the bottom, just to be sure).

Notes

I have made this recipe in both muffin pans and pastel de nata tins. Because these are best enjoyed the day that they are baked, I prefer the flexibility of the individual pastel de nata tins as they fit more easily in my freezer and I can easily bake a few at a time for a delicious, homemade treat.
Keyword celebrations, sweet treats