Bermunchies: Queijadas de Nata
This weeks Bermunchie is one of my absolute favorites. Queijadas de Nata, also known as Portuguese Custard Tarts are a staple in Portuguese/Azorean cuisine. As a child, my mother would make these for all of our family gatherings for the dessert table and were usually the first to be demolished. Ask any Portuguese friend, neighbor or colleague you may know about natas and you will see their eyes light up.
Natas are made up of a crispy flaky pastry shell which is filled with a sweet and creamy custard. Many people like to make their pastry from scratch, but personally I prefer to use pre-made puff pastry that you can get at any local grocery store in the frozen secion. My favorite brand to use is called Just Roll, but anything you can get your hands on is fine to use. Using pre-made dough makes this recipe super easy and allows you to spend time on perfecting the custard that pretty much makes or breaks the entire tart. My mom has passed down her original recipe and I have translated and modified it for you all. So here it goes, my recipe for Queijadas de Nata.
QUEIJADAS DE NATA
For the custard
1 cup heavy cream/milk
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup white sugar
6 egg yolks
1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed
For the custard
1) In a saucepan, combine milk, cornstarch, sugar and vanilla. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens.
2) Place egg yolks in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk 1/2 cup of hot milk mixture into egg yolks.
3) Add egg yolk mixture back to remaining milk mixture, whisking constantly. Cook, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes, or until custard has thickened.
4) Roll out pastry dough and cut into circles big enough to line muffin cup baking tins.
5) Fill pastry-lined muffin cups with custard mixture and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and filling is lightly browned on top
Makes about one dozen. Best served warm.