Pastéis de Nata ~ Portuguese Custard Tarts

This pastéis de nata recipe makes as-close-to-authentic Portuguese custard tarts with a rich egg custard nestled in shatteringly crisp pastry. Tastes like home, even if you’re not from Portugal.

Three pasteis de nata, two face-up showing the browned spots and one upside-down, showing the delicate spiral of browned pastry

These Portuguese custard tarts are facsimiles of the true pastéis de Belém pastries from the Antiga Confeitaria de Belém (below), where they churn out more than 22,000 pastries each day. When you make that many a day, you get damn good at it. There are all kinds of reasons why the original pastéis de nata from this pastry shop are so freaking good. Secret recipes, teams of folks who do nothing but make the pastry dough or whip up the filling, ovens that blast at 800°F.

Seven pasteis de Belem, or Portuguese custard pastries, on a plate, with coffee cups nearby

In order to translate the pastéis to the home kitchen and to ovens that that hit 500°F if you’re lucky, these pastéis are smaller than the original. and the tops may not brown quite as much as the authentic pastéis in the picture, which are from the confeitaria. Still, that hasn’t stopped the flood of rave reviews below. The secrets to making spectacular authentic Portuguese custard tarts at home are few and simple.

Pasteis de Nata | Portuguese Custard Tarts

When making the pastry, make sure the butter is evenly layered, all excess flour is removed, and the dough is rolled very thin and folded neatly. As for the custard, you’ll need a thermometer to accurately gauge the custard. These are best eaten warm the day they’re made. Originally published June 26, 2004.David Leite

A Little Visual Aid

The tremendously delightful and charming London pastry queen Cupcake Jemma uses my recipe to make her delicious Portuguese custard tarts.

Video: How to Make Pastéis de Nata
Video courtesy of Cupcake Jemma

Pastéis de Nata | Portuguese Custard Tarts

  • Quick Glance
  • (100)
  • 1 H
  • 2 H, 30 M
  • Makes about 40 pastries
4.9/5 - 100 reviews
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Special Equipment: Mini-muffin tin with 2-by-5/8-inch (50-by-15-mm) wells; If you prefer the classic larger tins from Portugal, you can purchase them at Portugalia Marketplace.


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  • For the pasteis de nata dough
  • For the custard
  • For the garnish


Make the pastéis de nata dough

In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the flour, salt, and water until a soft, pillowy dough forms that pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 30 seconds.

Generously flour a work surface and pat the dough into a 6-inch (15-cm) square using a pastry scraper. Flour the dough, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Roll the dough into an 18-inch (46-cm) square. As you work, use the scraper to lift the dough to make sure the underside isn’t sticking to your work surface.

Brush the excess flour off the top of the dough, trim any uneven edges, and, using a small offset spatula, dot and then spread the left 2/3 portion of the dough with a little less than 1/3 of the butter being careful to leave a 1 inch (25 mm) plain border around the edge of the dough.

Neatly fold the unbuttered right 1/3 of the dough (using the pastry scraper to loosen it if it sticks) over the rest of the dough. Brush off any excess flour, then fold over the left 1/3 of the dough. Starting from the top, pat down the dough with your hand to release any air bubbles, and then pinch the edges of the dough to seal. Brush off any excess flour.

Turn the dough 90° to the left so the fold is facing you. Lift the dough and flour the work surface. Once again roll it out to an 18-inch (46-cm) square, then dot the left 2/3 of the dough with 1/3 of the butter and smear it over the dough. Fold the dough as directed in steps 4 and 5.

For the last rolling, turn the dough 90° to the left and roll out the dough to an 18-by-21-inch (46-by-53-cm) rectangle, with the shorter side facing you. Spread the remaining butter over the entire surface of the dough.

Using the spatula as an aid, lift the edge of dough closest to you and roll the dough away from you into a tight log, brushing the excess flour from the underside as you go. Trim the ends and cut the log in half. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours or preferably overnight. (The pastry can be frozen for up to 3 months.)

Make the custard

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and 1/4 cup milk (60 ml) until smooth.

Bring the sugar, cinnamon, and water to a boil in a small saucepan and cook until an instant-read thermometer registers 220°F (104°C). Do not stir.

Meanwhile, in another small saucepan, scald the remaining 1 cup milk (237 ml). Whisk the hot milk into the flour mixture.

Remove the cinnamon stick and then pour the sugar syrup in a thin stream into the hot milk-and-flour mixture, whisking briskly. Add the vanilla and stir for a minute until very warm but not hot. Whisk in the yolks, strain the mixture into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside. The custard will be thin; that is as it should be. (You can refrigerate the custard for up to 3 days.)

Assemble and bake the pastries

Place an oven rack in the top third position and heat the oven to 550°F (290°C). Remove a pastry log from the refrigerator and roll it back and forth on a lightly floured surface until it’s about an inch (25 mm) in diameter and 16 inches (41 cm) long. Cut it into scant 3/4-inch (18-mm) pieces. Place 1 piece pastry dough, cut side down, in each well of a nonstick 12-cup mini-muffin pan (2-by-5/8-inch [50-by-15-mm] size). If using classic tins, cut the dough into generous 1-inch (25-mm) pieces. Allow the dough pieces to soften several minutes until pliable.

Have a small cup of water nearby. Dip your thumbs in the water, then straight down into the middle of the dough spiral. Flatten it against the bottom of the cup to a thickness of about 1/16 inch (1.5 mm), then smooth the dough up the sides and create a raised lip about 1/8 inch (3 mm) above the pan. The pastry bottoms should be thinner than the tops.

Fill each cup 3/4 full with the cool custard. Bake the pastries until the edges of the dough are frilled and brown, about 8 to 9 minutes for the mini-muffin tins, 15 to 17 minutes for the classic tins.

Remove from the oven and allow the pasteis to cool a few minutes in the pan, then transfer to a rack and cool until just warm. Sprinkle the pasteis generously with confectioners’ sugar, then cinnamon and serve. Repeat with the remaining pastry and custard. These are best consumed the day they’re made.

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Recipe Testers Reviews

According to my Portuguese dad, I can make these pasteis de Nata again and again and again! I am pretty chuffed with how they turned out since I had doubts throughout the entire process of making these traditional tarts. First of all, Pasteis de Nata are the epitome of the classic Portuguese sweet treat. So no pressure!

In following the recipe, when mixing the flour, salt and water in the stand mixer, my dough never achieved the soft pillowy stage I was hoping, or rather thinking, what it would be. My dough did pull away from the sides slightly, but remained sticky, hence I feel I should have added more flour which I didn't at this stage. Doubt started to set-in! When working with the dough on the work surface, I needed to add a very generous amount of flour to stop the dough from sticking. At this stage I probably added so much flour that I actually increased the amount of flour added to the dough significantly.

I found working with the dough a test of extreme patience! I remained calm (yet doubtful) and just kept working with it gently. I was never able to achieve the 18-by-18-inch square, no matter how hard I tried. It was closer to 14 inches. The custard seemed quite thin and even though the recipe mentioned it would be so I had my doubts it would firm up into a creamy custard. While the tarts baked, the butter bubbled and oozed out of the dough and over the edge of the minis tin causing lots of smoke in the extremely hot oven. I baked the minis for 9 minutes and the custard was set and the pastry was golden brown. I expected the custard to have a brown speckled appearance (like the ones you buy commercially), but it remained an eggy yellow. For the larger tins, I baked the tarts for 15 minutes and they too remained an eggy yellow with a golden brown pasty.

To my surprise, the pastry was super flaky and crispy and it had that perfect crackly crunch that is the true mark of a great pasteis de Nata! And the custard? It set and was creamy, sweet, and deliciously perfect.

When my Portuguese mom said they tasted just like the pasteis de Belem (the most famous and original Portuguese Custard Tarts), then I knew we had a winner! Talk about the best compliment ever! It was quite a bit of work to produce these little gems, but the end result was definitely worth the effort!


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  1. I just made these Pasteis de Nata (a half recipe, actually), and they came out perfectly! I did cut the original amount of sugar in half. The directions were very easy to follow, and I was surprised at how easy they were to make. I just need to fill them a little more next time.

  2. Hi David,

    I checked the recipe way after I watched the video at Jemma’s channel, and was surprised to see your reference to her video here, as I find her instructions and visuals pretty good. :-)

    I have also checked many of the comments especially those on store-bought puff pastry.
    However, I have a batch of homemade inverted puff pastry, which gives a flakier result than normal puff pastry, and was wondering whether I could use it instead of making the dough in your recipe. I was considering rolling it very thin–like 3 mm and rolling it in itself, as it has the butter anyway on the outside. Pricking with a fork will be on the list as well. Would be happy to hear your comments.

    Greetings from Germany

      1. So I must say, considering the fact that I didn’t stick to your original dough recipe, the result is not that bad. I actually had some scraps of my home-made inverted puff pastry, which I rolled very thin, then added a layer of butter to stick it and followed the rest of your recipe steps. Unfortunately, they burnt a bit on the top, but I think the problem is in my oven, because to reach the 290C I needed to put the grill only, which was obviously way too strong for the mini-pieces. Otherwise, they turned out very crispy, which I believe the inverted puff pastry also helped a bit, and not that sweet, which is surprising considering the sugar amount.

        Now I have a veeeery stupid question–what to do with the left custard, as it is about a small creme brulee size and I don’t want to throw it away. Any suggestions?

        1. Yulia, so glad that your pastry worked out. I’ve never had any custard left over. My suggestion would be to make more of your delicious inverted puff pastry and bake more!

  3. David, this recipe turned out great! I was very nervous about how the dough would turn out as it was extremely sticky & delicate, and if I’m being honest I had about a million tears in it while rolling. Well, I just made the tarts and they look amazing! Next time I’ll try not to over fill them, the ones that overflowed got a bit burnt at the sides but otherwise taste incredible.

  4. Hey, David, I’v been using your recipe for a while and love it! I also find my custard is a bit “curdled” and not as smooth as I would like. I find when baked in a “professional bakery oven”, they have a smoother custard texture. So my question is this. If I lowered the temp and baked longer could that solve the “semi-lumpy” custard? I’ve read a lot online that baked custard should be cooked slow, however, the pastry needs high heat. Also, would it be better to start with custard from the fridge or made the day you bake them. Thoughts???

      1. Hi Dave, no it’s not, its smooth. It’s just when they bake and come out and cool they seem as if the custard broke while baking. They are not smooth like pudding or creme brulee. Not sure if the custard should be smooth pudding or creme brulee?? I’ve never been to Portugal so never had a real one.

        1. Leigh, they’re not perfectly smooth like crême brulée, as they are cooked at a far higher temp and without a bain-marie. What temperature was your oven set at?

  5. This recipe was awesome. By far the most complicated thing I’ve ever baked in my life (second most complicated was baklava). I don’t have anything to compare the taste to, but it tasted fantastic.
    I ate like six of them right away. I am already planning on making more tomorrow. I’ll be making a double or triple batch so that I can freeze some dough for later

    The link attached is a video and some pictures of the final product.


    1. Thanks, kevin! They look absolutely perfect. Thank you so much for taking the time to share this with us. We’re delighted that they turned out so incredibly well for you.

  6. Wayyyyy too sweet. Almoat inedible. I have had them Lisbon and other places and they’re not nearly this sweet. 3/4 cups of sugar would be plenty!!

    1. We’re sorry to hear they don’t meet your expectations, cisca. If you try reducing the sugar in the recipe, we’d love to hear how they turn out!

  7. Hi, I just tried your recipe of Pasteis de nata and I have to admit that the amount of sugar is really high. Maybe it is just because I was using metric system but anyway, next time (if) I do this again, I will definitely use half of suggested amount :)

    1. Jana, the treats are indeed sweet, no question about it! Portugal has traditionally had one of the biggest sweet tooths in the world. Please let me know how it is with less sugar.

  8. While watching the video, you notice that the ingredient amounts differ slightly. So I wrote them down. Except, the video doesn’t give an exact amount of milk to use. Did anyone try it and just adjust it on their own? Had many of these during a bike trip around Lisboa. Can’t wait to try making them.

    1. Ms Inge Kohl, I included the video so that people can see the process of making the pastry. There was a lot of confusion as to exactly what’s going on. I would follow the amounts in the recipe. That’s what I’ve been using for years, and has been successful for many readers.

  9. So I made this tonight with store bought puff pastry and what a mistake. I’ll definitely try the dough from scratch. Aside from that the taste and texture of the filling is PERFECT.

      1. Thank you. Though I want to stay true to the recipe. (It gives me another excuse to make them again! Haha)

        The recipe is very excellent, I’ve had nothing but compliments so far.

  10. Oh my gosh – these were amazing and David, I cannot thank you enough for this recipe; it was easy to follow, clear and created the flakiest yet smoothest and most delicious pastèis de nata. As per other comments using whole milk in the custard, making sure to dust all the excess flour off during the lamination and a couple of minutes under a very hot broiler made for a beautifully blistered finished product. I did add a slice of lemon peel into the milk when making the custard, as recommended by my Portuguese partner, which gave a lovely hint of lemony acidity to cut through the otherwise decadent tart. All in all this was a really fun Australian lockdown recipe to try and its safe to say my Portuguese in laws were very impressed. Muito obrigada – can’t wait to make them again!

  11. Hi David! I’m lactose intolerant so would it be possible to swap out the milk for almond milk? Would I have to cut back on the amount of water? Thanks!

    1. Marike, I’ve never made it with anything but milk. I don’t know how almond milk would perform in the custard. My advice would be to use a standard milk-almond milk substitution for custard and see how that works. Sorry that I can’t be more helpful…

  12. Thanks for this great recipe. I made these for the first time this week and whilst still good they weren’t as flaky as i hoped for. Not sure where i went wrong.

  13. Hey! I’m having trouble with my filling – I baked them at 550F for 17 min. Then put them under the broiler for a few min to try to get those burnt tops. The custard came out super eggy tasting – so bad I couldn’t eat them. Do you know why the custard didn’t come out sweet and smooth and instead eggy and lumpy?

    1. Kira, I can’t say why they’re eggier tasty than usual. They’re…eggs! As to the lumps, you’re overcooking them. Are you using full muffin tins or mini tins? The mint tins are cooked for only 7 to 8 minutes. Is your oven correct? It might be running too hot.

      1. Thanks, David! It wasn’t a good custard egg taste–I think it was because they were overcooked. I used full muffin tins.

  14. These look amazing! Excited to bake them but I don’t have a stand mixer (or dough hook), any suggestions? I have all the usual hand baking equipment and a handheld electric?

    1. Izzy, you can mix the dough using your electric handheld mixer, or the old-fashioned way with a wooden spoon and lots of muscle. It will take longer than 30 seconds to come together though. Do let us know how they turn out!

  15. Thanks for this lovely recipe. I loved the simple method for the custard but found it overly sweet so will cut by at least half next time!

  16. Hi David, i came across your recipe some time back and printed it but somehow never got the time to try it but finally did try it out over the weekend – not sure how my crust was supposed to turn out but first batch was a bit undercooked in some areas and second batch in the attempts to get that burnt custard was quite cooked & crunchy – i loved the crunchy though – my question is regarding the laminating – the butter keeps oozing out from the sides when I’m trying to roll it out after each addition – is the butter supposed to be really really soft when applying?

    1. Marion, the butter is supposed to be spreadable. If it’s really, really soft you might want to put it in the fridge for a bit. You don’t want it to get firm, though–that will tear the dough.

    2. Thanks, David, for your prompt reply, will try chilling for a few minutes before putting the second round of butter or perhaps will make sure that butter is soft but not too soft.

  17. Love the recipe! Question though, why is the custard mixture in Portugal seem thicker and more like a custard and this one is liquid? I do get the custard to set, but the bottom of the custard always seems to be harder when cooked. Thanks!

  18. Hi.. I can’t seem to find the video of it. I would love to try making it and want to see the visual aid first…

    Also.. the custard ingredients above says milk, divided.. I am not sure what does that mean…

    1. Hello, Maggie. The video is right above the ingredients list. The title is “Video: How to Make Pastéis de Nata.” “Divided” means you use some in step 9 and the rest in step 11.

  19. This was my first time making these tarts. I followed the video and my tarts turned out amazing. These were so delicious too. Laminating the dough was a little tricky but I folded it a few more times so there’ll be more layers. Will definitely make this again.

  20. Hello! Thank you so much for the great recipe… and the video from Cupcake Jemma. First time I have ever made these and they turned out wonderfully even after really messing up with the lamination steps of the pastry dough… i almost gave up, but decided to just push through anyway. Although I didn’t quite get the desired spirals, it still tasted really nice. Also, I have to work on my timing: one batch was overdone and the other batch underdone. Next time I will get it right! I enjoyed eating these when I visited Portugal a couple of years ago… so happy that I have come close to that beautiful taste memory.

    1. Your tarts look fantastic, Joni. It definitely takes some practice, but you’re well on your way. We’re so pleased that we could help bring back such a special memory.

  21. I loved this recipe! I lived in Mozambique for a long time, where “natas” are a traditional treat, and I never thought I could make them myself. A couple of tips:
    -Following advice from others, I used whole milk
    -I used a convection oven, and set the temp to 500 degrees F. During the last few minutes, I put the pasteis under the broiler to try to get the nice brown tops.
    -I used half the butter (about one stick total)
    -I also reduced the sugar to one cup
    Thank you so much David. I will pass this recipe on to others. Obrigada!

  22. Hi, I have a question, If I used the mixture of the custard in there is it fit for 40 pcs muffins? Thank you

    1. Laica, if you follow the recipe as written and use a mini-muffin tin for your tarts, there should be enough custard and dough for about 40 tarts. I hope that answers your question.

  23. I want to make these in the individual tins- should I put them on a baking sheet? I know they have to go on something to bake them in oven in the individual tins but do I need to adjust oven temp or time or anything?

  24. Just tried this recipe today. I did a few alternations for the recipe. First off, instead of using 2 sticks of butter, I just used 4 tbsp of butter. Using 2 sticks isn’t really necessary since the flaky texture is achieved with using just 4 tbsp. If you start off with the mindset of using 2 sticks, you will most likely use up all 2 sticks of butter, but if you start off with 2-4 tbsp of butter, you will be a bit more frugal when spreading. Second of all, I would adjust the sugar in the custard. I used around half the sugar in the recipe (140 g) and found the custard to be too sweet. If I were to make these egg tarts again, I would just use a quarter of the recipe. Lastly, a big mistake I made when making this was having the crust to be very thin. My dough folded over the muffin tin, which I thought would be fine until I took it out of the oven. It was so burnt, but i managed to fix it by using a pair of kitchen shears to trim off the burnt parts of the dough.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with us, Veronica. From the photo, it looks like you did an excellent job trimming away the burned bits. With such a significant reduction in the amount of butter in the pastry, it’s a little difficult to predict what might happen.

    2. If you reduce the butter significantly, yes, you’ll still get the flakiness (from folding and rolling) but I’m assuming you won’t be able to achieve the crunchiness? Since the butter is essentially used to “fry” the dough which gives it that amazing golden brown colour all the way through and crunch when you bite into it.

      1. Absolutely, Lillian. Using the full amount of butter will give you the best results.

  25. I have a question about the muffin tin size before I get started! It calls for mini muffin tins (2″ x 5/8″). However my mini muffin tin (makes 24) is 1 and 3/8″ diameter (on the bottom, 1 and 6/8″ from the top) and 7/8″ high. So not as wide but taller than what the recipe calls for.

    Whereas my regular muffin tin (12) is 2″ diameter (on the bottom, 2 and 6/8″ from the top) and 1 1/8″ high. The correct diameter for the recipe but too tall…

    I’m not sure which one I should use for this recipe? Could I use the regular muffin tin and do the larger amounts you wrote for the traditional pasteis de nata?

    1. Claire, I think using the mini muffin pan should work for you as the recipe is written. It sounds like the wells on your regular muffin tin are a little larger than what is suggested for a traditional form, so if you’d like to use that then I’d suggest you cut the dough pieces slightly larger than 1 inch so that you can get the dough high enough on the sides.

  26. Hi, thanks heaps for the recipe and video, a friend asked me to make these tarts and I had never heard of them before. They were a great hit amount my riding buddies and even a friend who used to live in Taiwan gave them the tick of approval.

    I started off using my silicon muffin tin but it was not as good as the old metal muffin tin. My oven only goes up to 250°C so I had to cook for a little longer to get the spots. Next time I will put a pizza stone both above and below and move the rack closer to the top of the oven and see if the custard does not shrink so much and hopefully a shorter cooking time.
    Thanks heaps, really enjoyed them.

    1. Thanks, Ellenor! Your tarts look lovely and we’re so pleased that everyone enjoyed them. Do let us know if the changes make a difference next time.

  27. So delicious! I used half the pastry and custard mix for a set of 12 standard muffins. I used the second half to make 24 mini muffins. We have a convection oven and we were unable to get the blistering on top. I will try a quick broil at the very end of cooking next time. Love the CRUNCH of the laminated French pastry!

    1. I made these in two batches. The first batch looked perfect but I felt the custard had split. I cooked the second batch for just a few minutes less and the custard was beautifully smooth. I just felt that I could taste the flour in the custard slightly. I’m going to try again with two pizza stone in my oven. Is it better
      fan oven or no fan?

      1. Elisa, they look great! If you could taste flour, did the sugar syrup mixture get up to the correct temperature? That’s what cooks the flour.

        If you’re going to use a convection oven, the kind with the fan, lower the temperature by 25°F to 525°F/270°C.

  28. My all time favourite sweet treat! Thanks for the recipe, I didn’t have the swirly bottoms but they tasted great and everyone loved them :) I will definitely make them again!

      1. Must be my oven! I tried it again using the bigger cupcake tins and baked on highest temperature for 10mins then lowered to 220C for the last 5 mins as the tops seemed to be getting too black! Came out really well -especially like the custard ratio to the pastry :)

  29. Hi David,

    Thank you so much for the recipe! I’ve made this a few times now and everyone loves it.

    I just wanted to ask, if I prepare the custard a day ahead, do I need to take it out of the fridge and to get it at room temperature before I bake it?

    Thank you,


      1. Thank you for that. I also have another question. My oven only goes up to 250°C. So I found that in order to get it to slightly brown on top I need to bake it for at least 20 minutes in a standard muffin tin. I’ve noticed that after the custard starts to cool it deflates a lot and goes wrinkly. My question is, does it deflate and go wrinkly because the custard is over baked? Do you know why this happens? Please let me know as I’d like to get the custard to look smooth and shiny. Would my oven be hotter if I use 250°C fan forced? Do you know if I can bake these at 250°C fan-forced with less time? Thanks for your help!

        1. Lilian, you’re most welcome. You want to have that wrinkly surface! If you look at the second photo on the recipe, that’s taken at the famous Confeitaria de Belem in Portugal. They’re wonderfully wrinkly. If you have a convection oven, you absolutely can use it. You would cook it less time or at slightly less temperature.

  30. I wanted to try this recipe as I’ve eaten shop-bought tarts which were delicious but knew making your own tends to be soooo much better. I was really pleased with my first try at these. I don’t really ‘do’ pastry as such but found this recipe very helpful. I was thrilled with how the pastry turned out. The disappointment for me was the custard. I found it too sweet for both mine and my husband’s sweet tooth. I also found that after cooking, the custard seemed to have split? There was a sticky glaze over the top of the tart so not sure if I did anything wrong?

    1. Helen, congratulations! These little creatures are not easy to make. As to the custard, it should have a sheen to it and yours look perfect. If there is a goopy stickiness on top then that’s not correct.

      As far as the custard splitting, I don’t see where that’s happening? Do you mean inside?

  31. Hi David, I’d just like to say that Im a novice baker who attempted this with no stand mixer, folding went totally wrong (I almost threw all the pastry away in frustration as it stuck everywhere) no thermometer and an oven that only goes up to 275 degrees c. Still turned out pretty damn good. Will improve on the folding technique and make this again. Thank you so much for sharing.

      1. Hi David, thanks so much I made some today and they are delicious. Like others my oven only goes up to 250, but seemed to work well enough. I found Cupcake Jemma’s tutorial really helpful too (I’m a visual person!)

  32. this recipe is excellent! this was my first attempt, and i think it went well. i had a lot of doubts, my oven only goes up to 250 and i thought i failed at the pastry but i kept going and it turned out ok! quite flaky and you could even the spiral in the bottom, i will definitely make again!! they are so tasty.

    1. My problem is that the pastry burns on the edges before the custard starts to go brown. My oven in on a conventional setting at 290. Should I lower the cooking temp? Have tried this recipe twice and this happened both times.

      1. Hry, Rachel. So sorry about that. Yes, you can lower the heat to 260°C. You might not get the same size brown spots, but that is preferable to burnt crust. Also, is that pastry the pastry from the recipe?

        1. Thanks for getting back to me – will try that.
          No, was not the pastry from the recipe – I used bought puff pastry rolled very thin.

          1. Rachel, I think that may the part of the problem. Also, it looks like you cut it out with a cookie cutter or glass. It’s not a sturdy as the pastry in the recipe.

  33. Sounds amazing! Is there a way to make them ahead of time including the custard and just bake them fresh as needed?
    And how big should the squares be for a cupcake size?

    1. Suzanne, yes. you can make the custard and the dough and keep them in the fridge. As to using a full-size muffin tin, I’m not sure. I’m guessing here, but 1 3/4 inch? Try one and see it if fits.

      1. I only had semi-skimmed milk, not whole. The custard seemed a little thin to me, thinner than I was expecting, maybe whole milk would have made a difference. My own only goes upto 250c and they seemed to cook pretty fast. I checked on them quite soon after I put them in, they were actually bubbling and sligtly browning. My fears were realised and the custard seems sort of lumpy or split. Any idea why baking custard sometimes splits it?

        These taste really good. I admit I used my own rough puff pastry which involves folding but with grated frozen butter.

        Any help on why my custard split will be very much appreciated

        1. Nina, the extra fat in the milk would help it. Also, do you have an oven thermometer? If your oven is running hot, it can cause the custard to curdle. One thing to realize is the custard won’t be smooth like a panna cotta or crême brulée. Those are cooked at a lower temperature and using a bain Marie. That being said, they look fantastic.

          1. Thank you David! Yes, I think you’re right and I am going to give them another go this week. I have baked custard before, in a bain Marie and yes – makes sense that would be smooth. I am going to try these again this week. Do you have any advice on making them a touch less sweet? If it was to reduce the sugar by a quarter, would it make a difference to the success of the recipe sweetness aside?
            I am going to check my oven temp!

            1. Hello, Nina. I’m working on a version that’s less sweet. Yes, you can try to reduce the sugar by a quarter; others have done it successfully. And less sugar and it could affect the chemistry.

    2. I am absolutely love this recipe. It is delicious.
      Only problem I am having is that my filling is bubbling over and causing the pastry to stick to the tin and burn. I have tried filling them less but they still seem to bubble over. Do you have any tips?

    3. Hello!
      When making the tarts today, the pastry curled in on itself causing the custard to spill over and the shape was just very wrong. I tried multiple times but every time, the pastry pulled away from the sides and curled in. Please help!

      1. Vista, it’s really hard to give an answer without seeing a picture or being there. You might not be pulling the dough up high enough. Is your pan nonstick? Are you making the mini version or regular size?

        1. I am making the regular size ones. I used a nonstick pan and I tried pulling the dough up to several different heights (up to 1/2 inch above). Could the nonstick pan cause the curling in? Hopefully, you can see in this photo what I am referring to. The pastry pulls away from the pan, and falls into the centre.

          1. Vista, I can see that, yes. Two things might be going on: 1.) The pan. It might just be…TOO nonstick. 2.) You might be excessively pulling the dough when shaping. Try another tin–regular (not nonstick) and once you have shaped the shells, put the tin in the fridge for 20 minutes.

    1. Sadness, they don’t look too bad at all! Don’t be hard on yourself. What I see is that you didn’t bring the pastry high enough up over the lip of the tins. That can help prevent the custard from flowing over.

  34. Hi David,
    Found your recipe last year and always wanted to make these Pasteis. I live in Australia, my mother lives in Lisbon and with these travel restrictions I thought I’d make them as an ‘across the world’s connection. They came out perfectly and taste as good as Pasteis de Belem. Many thanks

    1. Dominic, I’m delighted you enjoyed the recipe. And I’m glad you can make that connection back to Lisbon. One suggestion: The sides of the pastry seem very dark. Consider placing a thin baking sheet two racks below the rack on which you bake the pastries. That will keep the undersides a little lighter.

  35. I’m midway through cooking these and have realised I don’t have a sugar thermometer. Any suggestions on how I can ensure the sugar syrup reaches 100c? Thanks!

    1. Will, I gather you’re probably already done with these. If not, you’ll need to follow the directions/cues for what’s called the thread stage of candy making. You can determine the thread stage by dropping a spoonful of the sugar syrup into a cup of cold water. If the syrup drips from the spoon and forms thin threads in cold water, you’re set.

      1. Thanks David! I actually decided to hold fire (pastry stage completed, hadn’t started custard yet) as I managed to get a thermometer on Amazon that will be delivered later. Cheers

  36. Hello, I’m really excited to try out this recipe! However, I noticed that my oven doesn’t heat up to 290°C :( will it be okay if i bake at 250°C?

  37. Hi David, I have been craving these for ages and finally made my first attempt (because the muffin tray took ages to be delivered)! Thank you for the recipe, I’ve halved the amount, used slightly above 480°F (250°C), top 1/3 of a convection oven, and a muffin tray for about 16 mins. I was amazed by the result, but here are some of my reflections/questions:

    – I’ve cut the sugar by 1/4, still, a tad too sweet > < would further cut on sugar affect the custard's texture drastically?

    – I’ve never made laminated dough before, but these came out rather crispy (bordering on crunchy), rather than flaky. I could see butter bubbling all over the pastry and around the filling in the oven, even though I actually didn't use up all the butter required, it almost felt like the pastries were getting deep-fried in there. They were very tasty, but just wondering if the dough was supposed to act and taste like this? or did I do something wrong? I might have accidentally rolled the dough thinner than in the video (which also made the dough more vulnerable to tears when rolling and turning), would that have made the difference?

    – very important to let the tarts hang out to cool! burning my mouth was worth it, but letting it rest helps the custard set;)

    1. Ellie, so glad you liked them! Cutting the sugar any more will affect the chemistry. It will take longer to get to the right temperature for the custard, and too much water will evaporate.

      Making the dough is very hard, and I applaud you for doing it! Just to give you an idea of how they make this in the shop in Belém: The 1-inch log that you end up with begins life the size of a tree trunk that’s more than a foot in diameter! It’s pulled and pulled and pulled until it’s 1-inch in diameter. So there are a gazillion more layer than we can make at home. That’s part of the issue.

      This recipe tries to hew as closely as possible to the original technique. Now you can make a French laminated dough, roll it up, and tug and tug until it’s1-inch in diameter. It’s not “authentic,” but I won’t tell if you won’t!

  38. Hi David!

    I really really wanna try out this recipe but I don’t have cinnamon sticks. I only have ground cinnamon. Can i use that as substitute?

      1. Thank you so much for this recipe David! They are absolutely amazing! My oven only goes up to 450F so i baked them for a few extra minutes. Baked this right in time for mother’s day and my mom loved them! Thank you!! :)

  39. Hi i just wanted to aske before making, it says on the recipe that it makes about 40 but in the video the same measurements are for 24? just wanted to clarify this as ill be making it this weekend :)

  40. These turned out really good. I cooked them for 17 mins at 525°F because my oven doesn’t go higher than that.

  41. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I am surprised at how easy these are to make. I will definitely be making these again! YUM!

  42. I’m going to try this recipe next, but I’ve been using a slightly different one I had originally found in my previous (failed) attempts. I can never get the dough to roll out nicely a second time after buttering and folding. Maybe I’m just not pressing out the air bubbles well enough, but whenever I start rolling that second time, the edges where I’ve folded the dough over always burst, pushing butter everywhere and causing my dough to become a sloppy mess. Any tips for that step in the process? Thanks

  43. Thanks so much for the recipe! They’ve become quite popular in my household.

    However, my dough never turns out right. It often burns at the top, and it doesn’t get as fluffy and flaky as puff pastry should. I find it difficult to do the lamination process because the dough is so sticky. Any tips for how to improve this? Thank you!

    1. Laura, you are more than welcome. As far as tips to making the dough less sticky, make sure to use a fine coating of flour. Granted, it is a tough dough to work with. The puffiness has to do with the even application of the butter and properly folding. As far as the burning, how much above the lip of the pan is the dough? And how close to the heating element is the pan?

  44. Thank you for the recipe. Of all I’ve seen, this seems the most authentic so I’m going to make these tonight with my daughter. Getting fat during lockdown!

  45. I made this and the finished product had more of a puffy look than the glazed look in your pictures. Any tips? Thanks!

  46. A great recipe, thank you! A lot of effort (and mess) but a very nice *sometimes* treat :-)

    A coeliac friend was wondering about making them gluten-free. Do you suppose they’d go ok with a GF flour blend for the pastry, and a cornflour in the custard?

    1. Rebecca, I’m delighted you enjoyed them!! We’ve not made them using gluten-free flour, so I can’t assure you 100%. But there are some pretty impressive 1:1 GF blends these days. I do think you can use cornflour (cornstarch) for the filling.

  47. Hi there, I made your Pasteis de Nata this afternoon, they were terrific but we found they’re a little too sweet. How can I reduce the sugar without spoiling the consistency and texture of the tarts? I know if I reduce the sugar, the syrup won’t be the same and will reach 100C far quicker. Thought you might have an idea. Thank you.

    Kindest regards,


    1. maricha, I’m delighted you enjoyed the pastéis. They are a bit sweet. Some of the commenters reduced the sugar by 1/4 without any problem. Do let me know how they turn out!

  48. I have been wanting to make pasteis de nata since my trip to Portugal in the Fall, but thought it would be too complicated to make them. I was pleasantly surprised. These are HEAVENLY!! Thank you so much for this recipe. The video was very useful! I added an extra tablespoon of water to the dough because it was a bit thick. Otherwise, I followed the recipe as is. This recipe is a keeper for sure! 👏😍

      1. Any recommendations for storing them? I know they are better the same day, but I can’t eat all of them in one day. Haha.

        1. Luc, what? You can’t eat all of them in one sitting? What’s wrong with you?!! 😉 To revive them, place them in a 300°F oven to warm them. Don’t put them in the microwave, as it will nuke them and change the texture of the custard.

  49. Soooooo Good!!! My avo said they were better than her recipe, which is saying a lot since she has been making pasteis de nata for decades.

    A taste of Portugal :)

  50. Hi, David, after the dough is made and stayed in the freezer for a few hours, can I shape the dough into the tins and then freeze them (without the custard of course)? I am trying to minimize the process on the day of the actual baking. I am little scared to try them because of the high temperature required. But have invested in the special custard tart mold and made the dough, so no turning back.

    1. tanya, we’ve never tested it that way, but I believe you can. Wrap them tightly. I would use them within a few days of freezing. Also, make sure they’re defrosted to room temp before baking.

  51. hi there. Quick question – why do you place slices of the rolled-up pastry into the muffin pan, and then squash it flat – why not simply unroll the pastry and cut rounds and put into the cups? what will the difference be?

    1. nadena, if you cut rounds you’ll have just a few layers. By rolling it and carefully, pushing your thumbs in the middle and running them up the sides, you have hundreds of layers. It makes it more crispy.

  52. I tried similar custard tarts at Carousel Bakery in Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market last January and I’ve had major cravings since. A few weeks ago I just tried to search for a recipe and these popped up, and I’m so happy I gave it a chance!

    I knew I was getting myself into a project but it paid off. I would recommend becoming familiar with the recipe and instructions, and also watching the video by Cupcake Jemma to get a feel for the steps, just so you know how things should look like.

    I split the recipe to make on two different occasions. I froze one log, and defrosted it overnight in the fridge when I needed it (and made a fresh half batch of custard accordingly). On the first attempt I made 12 one-inch pieces to go in a standard size muffin tin. I was left with 3 empty shells as my math was likely off and I probably overfilled the others. The ones that did get filled with custard were delicious, nonetheless!

    The second time around I used the standard muffin tins again, but I only rolled the log enough so that I had just a bit more than enough to cut 10 equal one-inch pieces. This was much better and easier to flatten the dough in the tins as there was more of it. I only filled each pastry half way with custard which was enough for all 10. As they baked, the exposed parts of the pastry shrunk down and settled in the perfect place to meet the custard.

    This was one of the more difficult things I’ve made but just so incredibly amazing. My family absolutely loved them. They have the perfect balance of warm custard and flaky pastry. It is a little time consuming, especially if you’re like me and need to check and recheck the steps to make sure you’re doing it right. Just follow the directions as they are written, trust the process and yourself (even if the smoke detector goes off, haha). Breathe and it will work out. I would highly suggest this as a weekend baking project if you want to challenge yourself!

        1. Wow, an excellent report on this delicious treat and useful comments too.

          I recently consumed dozens of these delights while holiday making in Cape Town. I hope to test out your recipe as soon as i get home.

  53. First time making these gems, they are fabulous. I don’t think the oven was hot enough as I didn’t get the coloring on the top, Plus the custard seemed to recess into the pastry somewhat. I will make more today and try less time and using the broiler for a minute or two. Your instructions were perfect.

  54. Quick question- does the amount of butter needed 2 sticks of 8 oz (= 16 oz total
    ) or just 8 oz of butter? The recipe calls for 2 sticks of unsalted butter (8 oz), but 1 stick of butter is usually 8 oz.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Jennie, and thank you for asking! Where we are, in the US, sticks of butter are 4 ounces each. And so the parenthetical, as you read it, is for the total amount. We understand it can be confusing and appreciate you clarifying!

  55. Excellent recipe! This is my first attempt at making puff pastry and it was a huge mess with butter all over the place. But it tastes yummy despite the appearance haha although I would cut back on the sugar the next time. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    1. Liam, these are OUTRAGEOUSLY beautiful! Congratulations. It’s not an easy recipe. And it’s funny–I had already cut back on the amount of sugar. We Portuguese have big sweet tooths!

  56. Hi David. I am Portuguese and living in the Netherlands. We will have this international breakfast and I was kind of challenged to make this wonderful. After some searching, I decided to give this recipe a try. Could only work with the dough with 300g flour and 210g water. After baking the crust is absolutely amazing! Tried the filling twice, to cut the sugar by 1/4 – flavour is even better in my opinion. I still have two things I want to improve:

    [1] While baking, the butter in the crust starts bubbling and one of the sides get burned;

    [2] The filling is awesome inside, but on top I still think it kinds of “talha,” so it does become as smooth as I would like.

    My oven only gets up to 225C and has only 3 positions. I baked them on the top position, with the fan not working. I am also using a normal size muffins tin and cooked them for 12min + 3 min with the broiler.

    I researched a bit and I’ve done several trials on timing using only 2 pastéis: from 12 to 17 and they all come out the same, in terms of filling. I think it is because the muffin tin is too close to the source of heat, so the filling top gets overcooked.

    Any proposal on how to improve these two topics? Thank you so much for the amazing recipe!

    1. Ana, so glad you like these! It may sound nutty, but flours from various countries are different. So the flour-water ratio is always different.

      1. Do you mean the same side on all of the pastéis burn? If so, that’s an oven with uneven heating and/or hot spot.

      2. I’m not familiar with the term talha. What is it?

  57. I’m looking for some advice. I set my oven as high as it would go (500F+) and baked in the top third of the oven. I used grey-ish metal regular-sized muffin tins. at 15min, the crusts were burned fairly badly and the custard did not brown. I tried lowering the heat for the next batch to 475F. Crusts were better but then the custard did not set properly. I was starting to think there was something wrong with the custard recipe having too much liquid but none of the other commenters reported this. What is the likely culprit? Do I need more egg yolk (i.e. bigger eggs)?

      1. Regular-sized muffin tins. The eggs are large to extra-large. Sorry I don’t have a weight to be more specific. The recipe says “generous 1in pieces” for the crusts of regular muffin pans but I found with this size didn’t fill the whole cup. Either my pan is somehow deeper than “normal” or I’m making the crusts far too thick. I expect if I made the crusts thinner the burning would be worse right?

        1. Edwin, the instructions to cut a generous 1-inch is for the mini pans. You would need more for the standard muffin tins. That might help the burning. If you’re using extra-large eggs, you might be adding up to too much liquid. Another thought: Try letting the filling come to room temperature before using it. Lastly, do you have oven thermometers? Your oven might be running too hot, which could cause the burning.

  58. Bom Dia David:

    I am a first-generation American of Portuguese descent. My father came from a very small village near Carragal do Sal, not far from Coimbra. I have used your recipe for the Natas from your New Portuguese table. I used the frozen puff pastry recommended in the recipe but had difficulty fitting the dough into the Nata cups, even with wet fingers.

    I remember seeing a video of the dough at Antiga Confeiteria de Belem and their dough was just sitting there in a big blob with the workers easily cutting off pieces and fitting them into the cups [the dough appears very soft and pliable]. I am sure that the recipe for the dough is a state secret, but perhaps with your expertise, you could come up with something close to it. It is difficult for me as I have arthritis in my hands, so the softer the dough the better.

    I just discovered this recipe which is different from the book and I might give it a try.

    I have used your book many times and find the recipes easy to follow, but I need to find a way to make the dough as they have at Antiga Confeiteria de Belem.
    You can help make that happen.


    1. Joe, the Confeitaria uses a special baking fat that’s similar to margarine so it’s stable at room temperature. You can try margarine, but I would place the muffin tin in the fridge after living with the pastry and before filling it, otherwise, I fear the pastry will slump down the sides.

  59. Hi David,

    Love the recipe, and even more love how enthusiastically you reply to everybody. Here are my efforts. Pretty happy overall although the pastry was quite brown in the outside and underbaked inside. Maybe too thick? I put them back in for 5 mins but think that just made the outside browner. I still ate three before letting them cool at all (yes, I badly burnt my mouth)

    Look forward to trying them again.


  60. I made this recipe and although the tarts were absolutely delicious, the custard curdled slightly.I don’t have a non-contact instant-read thermometer, but the bases of the tarts were pale and not cooked like the sides.

    I’m determined to do these again and get them right. I’ll post another picture when I do them again; I’ve eaten all of the others already!!

      1. Hi David, I’m going to try again. I did use my pizza stone in the oven to try and get some heat radiating upwards to cook the bases quicker than my first attempt. The one oven thermometer that I do have read 550F when I put them in, although my oven is terrible! (live in a rental with very old fan oven)

        1. Patrick, one thing you can do is blast the oven with your broiler so that the baking stone gets very hot. Then turn the heat down and slide in the pastries.

  61. This recipe is so incredibly good. You have to do just what the recipe says (not my strong suit) and follow it on blind faith, because it sure doesn’t seem like it’s going to turn out while you’re in process, but once it’s done they’re brilliant. And your kitchen is full of smoke. But it’s worth it.

  62. I’m wanting to try this in my commercial wood fired pizza oven. Any tips before I give it a go? I usually keep it at 650 – 700 degrees but can reach 900.

    1. Wow, Danielle!! Wow. I can’t say for sure, as this recipe was developed for the home oven. But a few things come to mind: 1.) Watch carefully. 2.) Use a regular muffin-size tin. Mini-tarts, which this recipe calls for, would be incinerated!

  63. I’m stumped as to what happened. The tarts turned out well, taste wise, but the filling all deflated, and each tart looks empty. While they were baking in the oven, they looks good and had puffed up nicely with only a little spillover, but nothing unexpected. As they cooled, the custard deflated to the point where each tart looked like the filling had fallen out.

    Any thoughts?

        1. Rick, that could be the culprit. The temp was lower than required, and the custard got hot but didn’t set properly. A possible workaround: Blast your broiler for 20 to 30 minutes to get the oven really hot, turn the heat to bake at 425, and see if that helps. In Portugal, the ovens they use are 800°F.

          1. OK thanks. I’ll give that a try. Should I perhaps bake them on the upper rack, closer to the broil elements? I’m so afraid of burning them.

              1. OK. Thanks David. I’ll give that a try on the weekend. I’ll let you know how they turn out this next time. :)

  64. great recipe! the instructions are well written with lots of detail and extra information…… i tried this recipe for the first time and got great results. my oven gets to 280C and i put them on the top shelf (not just the top third). i added cinnamon for the last butter fold so the spirals have a bit more definition, it also means i don’t have to sprinkle with cinnamon for serving. Ive tried other similar recipes that use shop bought puff pastry and the result is often soft pastry cases that shrink are only good for about 30 minutes after cooking. When i saw this recipe i had to try it and making the pastry really makes all the difference. really crisp and kept well for at least 24 hours (they may have kept longer but they were all gone by this time). i used the 12 hole muffin tin size which is about 21/2″ in diameter and about 11/4″ deep, i think this size gives 2 nice bites and its gone.
    it is a lot of effort but really great product. i think i’m going to scale up the recipe (x3) and then freeze batches of both the custard and the pastry. The pastry will be OK but what do you think about freezing the thin custard?

  65. Hi David, I have asked on another thread but would love your feedback on how to consistently achieve the caramelization on the custard consistently? Is it to do with the temperature or the sugar content?

    1. Hi, Julia. The temperature is everything. When I visited the original pastry shop in Portugal, I discovered their ovens reach a temperature of 800°F. That allows the pastries to cook quickly and become mottled with brown spots. Because no home oven gets that high, it takes longer for the spots to form, and the custard overcooks.

      What some people have done is when the pastries are just about done, they turn on the broiler. But that can sometimes char the outside.

      Making them larger, as Molly said she did, does help. Because it means the custard is in the oven longer. And because there is more filling, it doesn’t overcook.

  66. Couldn’t wait to try making these for the first time! Didn’t use all of the butter (maybe even only half!), but crust still came out fairly crispy and flakey. Oven doesn’t go up so high, but just baked longer – couldn’t get the nice golden top, but maybe I’ll torch the next time. My custard wasn’t quite right in texture – but I will keep trying! Only complaint is how sweet it was! Sadly, too much so.

    1. T A, glad you dove into this recipe. What was different about the texture? You can cut back on some of the sugar, but the Portuguese are known for their achingly sweet sweet tooth!

  67. This recipe for pasteis de nata is truly one of my go-to, no-fail recipes. Turned out perfectly on my first try and basically every time since. Much more beginner-friendly than it seems – I had no experience with puff pastry OR custard before this – and the results always get at least one happy dance from my family. And these get the official seal of approval from my Portuguese friend who goes to Lisbon a couple times a year!

    I’ve made them about ten times in the past year and a half, and the only time I’ve had an issue was when I didn’t follow the instructions – like when I used heavy cream instead of milk, because that’s what I had in the fridge. Still good, but not as smooth a custard. Sometimes I end up with more pastry dough than custard, but again, that’s from me not measuring when I cut :-) Just follow the recipe and you’ll be good. If your oven has trouble getting those characteristic browned bits on the surface of the custard, try broiling for a minute or two.

  68. Is it ok to use puff pastry? Would it make a difference to the amount of custard or would the recipe stay the same?

    1. Laura, traditional puff pastry is to designed to puff up, obvs. That can cause the filling to overflow as it’s pushed up. If you want to try it, roll it out, coat it wil a very thin layer of butter, and roll it up as in the directions. That should help a bit.

  69. Hi, I had a question—I haven’t baked much before and I was wondering how important the muffin tin size is? What size specifically would you recommend? I’m not entirely sure what the measurement in the recipe refers to, depth or width? Thanks so much!

    1. Andrew, the recipe as written calls for mini-muffin tins with wells 2 inches wide by 5/8 inch high. As you can see from the photos in the comments, many people have made them in standard tins with no problem. They just had to cook them longer.

  70. I’ve just made my first attempt with this recipe and would call it a success-in-the-making. A couple of questions: 1) I found the taste quite a bit sweeter than the pasteis de nata that I ate on a recent trip to Lisbon. I’m wondering if anyone has tried cutting the sugar back when making the custard? And, if so, by how much? 2) I think my custard was too gelatinous. Could this also be a problem of too much sugar? (I’m fairly new to baking.) Thanks for your help. And thanks for the recipe. As a novice baker, I found the directions clear and easy to follow.

    1. tlupick, I think you can safely cut back on the sugar by one-quarter. I’m not sure what you mean by “gelatinous.” Do you mean eggy? It’s possible the eggs were overcooked. Was the filling weepy?

      1. Thanks for your quick reply. “Gelatinous” like my custard almost had the consistency of jello or an especially sticky jam. I’m going to try making the custard again tonight with the 1/4 less sugar you’ve suggested. Thanks!

          1. We’re just about there. My second batch is much better. And, though I’m not exactly sure how, we seem to have corrected the gelatinous problem I encountered with my first batch of custard.

            I did end up making a few recipe modifications throughout:
            -for the custard, reduce sugar by 1/4
            -for the custard, after adding the sugar and water to the milk mixture, whisk vigorously for several minutes (as long as 5 to ensure a custard with a proper consistency); add the egg yolks, whisked vigorously for several minutes again
            -cut dough into pieces 1.75 inches long (1 inch in diameter)
            -shape dough up to the top of the baking tray, pour in 2 tbsp custard mixture
            -15 minutes baking, 2 minutes in the broiler
            -let sit for 20 minutes

            For me (and my specific muffin tray and oven and all of that), these modifications appear to have made all the difference. My second batch of pasteis de nata is a huge improvement on my first. I still need to work on my pastry crust. But I think that will just take practice. This is a great recipe. thanks for sharing.

            1. tlupick, I’m delighted that 1.) you took another swing at it and 2.) it was a success! And, yes, it’s just a matter of practice. If I haven’t made them in a year or so, I feel all thumbs.

  71. Hi David !! Cannot wait to try this recipe. My husband and l lived in Portugal for 5 years, and these little tarts were taste of heaven when sitting outside early morning with a relaxing with a cup of coffee. I am in bed at the moment whilst being unwell, and my husband has just brought in this beautiful delicacy with a coffee, and it brought back so many lovely memories of Portugal that l just had to look up a recipe, and here l am. I can see that the ingredients call for “cup,” what size cup would I use? I have looked at your other mouthwatering recipes that call for a “cup.” I thank you in anticipation of a reply, an l cannot wait to go shopping for some of the ingredients. Thanks David

  72. Hi! This recipe looks amazing, my boyfriend is Portuguese and I’d love to make this dish for a family dinner. Is it an absolute must to make the dough? It seems quite intimidating. I was wondering if store bought pastry dough would work? If not, any tips for making the dough?

    1. Ashley, if you read through the comments, you’ll see some people used storebought puff pastry. I’ll admit, I don’t like it with storebought. If you can, try to find DuFour puff pastry. It’s really good. As far as tips, roll out the storebought dough very, very thin, spread a thin layer of softened butter, and roll it into a log. If you make the dough, the best tip is to have patience! The good thing is you use room-temp butter, so the pressure to work quickly is removed.

      1. Thank you, David! I may attempt to the dough as I’d like these to be as close to traditional as possible.

        My oven only goes to 500, I did read another comment that stated her oven also only went to 500, do know how much longer of a cook time I should plan for at 500?

        1. Oh, good, Ashley. I think you’ll be rewarded with great pastries. As far as your oven goes, it depends upon how accurate it is. Some people turn on the broil for a minute or so to get the blackened mottled tops. Some keep the pastries in an extra 2 to 4 minutes. My suggestion would be to bake two and experiment. Once you know the best way to bake these for your oven, you’ll be set!

  73. Great Recipe. First try came out awesome, with flaky dough. To people checking the comments: my custard could have been drinkable. It was this liquidy. Also, an oven at 450 and 4 extra minutes works fine. I recommend this recipe to anybody who can use their hands to form dough: otherwise use store-bought croissant dough.

  74. I followed the recipe without any changes, except that my oven can’t reach 550°F, so I set it at 500°. I made some mini and some regular sized pastries. I baked the mini ones for 9 minutes and they remained lightly colored and eggy on top, with none of the brown spots you’ll find on authentic pastries. They also had a somewhat undercooked bottom. This is almost certainly because my oven wasn’t at a high enough temperature. The regular size pastries I baked for 20 minutes, and they have some dark spots on the surface and the pastry looks much darker. The bottom is also baked thoroughly. So if you’re like me and your oven won’t reach 550°, bake them for an extra minute or two (or three) to achieve those dark spots and a thoroughly cooked pastry. Both the undercooked and the perfectly cooked pastries tasted wonderful, though, and the custard set in both, it’s just the appearance and the bottom of the pastry that was different!

    1. Hi Molly, do you believe that the higher temperature are key to creating the brown spots on top? This is something im struggling to achieve consistently. I’ve done some research and there isn’t much information on it yet.

  75. This is yet another real deal recipe by David Leite! These natas couldn’t be any more delicious. The filling is simple to make and turns out so creamy, while the crust is perfectly flaky. What a superb combination of textures! These pastéis are fun to make and even better to enjoy amongst friends. Cheers!–

  76. I just made these this morning (started last night), and they came out perfect! I followed the recipe exactly (except for the oven temp, could have sworn it said 500 but I did change it to 550). I had no problems with the oven smoking, but for some reason, the smoke alarms did go off every time I opened the oven door. My son visited Portugal a few years ago and he said they were very close to those he had there. All in all, very happy with the recipe and will definitely make these again!

    1. Joyce, I am utterly delighted that you enjoyed the pastéis de nata. I have a theory of why your alarms kept going off when you opened the oven door: They smelled how good the pastries were and wanted some!

  77. I’m more of a cook than a baker, but /when/ I bake, I like to make slightly more complex things. This one has been on my list forever, so I finally decided to give it a spin! I made a few small mistakes along the way (the biggest of which was probably not owning offset spatulas and which has now been rectified), but despite that they came out really nice and everyone who got one loved it!

    Thanks a lot for this recipe!

    10 pastéis de nata on a cutting board

  78. 10/10! This is an easy to follow recipe. I was glad to find the recipe had the measurements in grams and not just cups. They tasted amazing and you must eat them the day you make them. We had some left over but you lose the crispy pastry when eating them the day after. I used a normal muffin tin and this was fine. I need to make sure next time that I bring the pastry up higher in the tin. This was my first attempt at making them and I will defiantly be making them again. They taste so good fresh out of the oven. A supermarket cannot compete with oven fresh baking!

    The process of making pastéis de nata, Portugal's famous pastry

    1. Claire, these look fantastic! You made them in full-size muffin tins, which is harder. Brava. And, yes, they need to be eaten the same day. They lose some of their specialness (and crispness) the next day. All in all, double brava!

  79. Experienced baker here, but one who’d never tried baking these, in spite of LOVING them on a recent trip.

    I have the mini tins, but opted instead to bake these in an old, well-seasoned steel regular-sized muffin tin. I’ve made puff pastry in the past and this pastry is definitely different–using warmish butter seemed strange to me after jumping through hoops at times, keeping puff pastry’s ingredients COLD.

    I followed the recipe to a T, however, and these turned out transcendently good.

    A few tips for questions people had in these comments…
    –If you aren’t using whole milk (I only had 1%) add a tablespoon or two of melted butter to the custard mix.
    –If you have a convection setting in your oven, set the temp at 500 degrees on convection and stick with using a rack set about 8″ from the broiler element.
    –After cutting a 1 1/2″ piece off of the pastry log (no rolling it to make the diameter smaller), set the rounds on a piece of plastic wrap, covering them with another piece of plastic. Then, press down on them with a flat, round meat pounder (a heavy glass would also work, I imagine). Doing so definitely made the rounds easier to mold into the larger tin.
    –Use PLENTY of flour when rolling out the dough… throughout the process, keep putting flour underneath it, using a pastry scraper to lift the dough.

    This recipe is fabulous.

      1. Thanks so much for this recipe, David!

        I just ordered the proper tins (Amazon, 20 for $12) and a batch of the dough is in the freezer. I’m on a Pasteis de Nata tear here (reminiscent of my canele binge a few years ago…but that’s another story) and am dying to know how the shape will have an impact on the results.

        A couple more things…I realized yesterday that the crust kind of reminds me of palmiers, especially the crunchy bottoms. That was kind of an “aha!” moment.

        As well, I forgot to mention the time it takes to make the bigger tarts (about 15 minutes).

          1. David, they were PERFECT! The angled sides and, I think, the fact that heat was circulating more efficiently around the sides, made the crust of the pastry on the sides a more uniform color and even crunchier than they were coming out of the muffin tin…my husband said they were “better than Belem’s” and my brother-in-law’s face, when he chomped into the pillowy custard enveloped in that pastry, looked like he had seen The Divine.

            Another thing I discovered was that, once totally cooled, you can put them in a container and refrigerate them (though I only refrigerated them overnight) and re-heat them at 225 for about 10-15 minutes successfully! There didn’t seem to be any degradation in the texture of the crust, which was my main concern.

            This girl is a happy one for having stumbled on your recipe (as are the neighbors!). Thanks again for posting it.

  80. David
    Great recipe but a bit too rich in butter I think. When I made them the melted butter spilled out of the moulds into the pan below. I used individual small moulds instead of a cupcake pan.

    1. Paul, that’s a pretty standard ratio for the dough. If you use individual tins, put a foil-lined baking sheet beneath. That’s what they do in Portugal, because these do tend to leak.

  81. Well, I cautiously decided to make 1/6 of the recipe amounts as a trial run, hoping to present a huge plateful at a Christmas party this weekend. The amount of pastry I had made 8 mini muffin size, but I seemed to have a lot of custard, so they were all too full! Despite bubbling over they can’t out of the time easily and are (or should I say were!!) Superb!!! My partner and I ate 3 each with our coffee, and only guilt prevented us from eating the final two!

    The only negative was that I think my bottoms were a bit thick. I found it quite hard to judge this as you push the pastry into the tin. Interestingly, before today, my partner always said: “I hate custard tarts!”

    Thanks for a fabulous recipe, and not nearly as daunting as I anticipated.

  82. The recipe is amazing!! Taste-wise and looks wise. I made these in standard sized muffin tins and cut the dough log into 1/2 inch pieces rather than 1 inch pieces. I found 1 inch pieces made the shell too thick and the inside was soggy. I also added a half handful more flour as I found the dough to be quite sticky and not smooth as described. Finally, after resting the dough ~30 mins – 1hr, I used it but only filled the shells halfway full as less “rested” dough shrinks slightly more. I’d recommend making one or two to test and adjusting the amount of dough and filling based on how your first two tarts turn out.

    1. Diane, I’m delighted you liked the recipe. If you’re making the pastries in a standard muffin tin, try cutting the dough roll between 3/4 of an inch and an inch. That would help. The dusting of flour is fine. And brava on suggesting the test pastéis. I often do that, too.

  83. I really loved this recipe and these Pastèis are very similar to those from Pastèis de Belém! The dough is challenging because it is sticky and requires quite a bit of flour to work it. I had to knead mine in the mixer for longer time than instructed to achieve the dough pulling from the sides of the bowl. These are known for being difficult, but the result is a super flaky and crispy crust. I prefer to use the metric measurements in general for accuracy. My oven reaches 550 F and I got beautiful brown spots. I also love that once the dough is prepared, you can refrigerate or freeze and the custard and baking process are very easy and simple. I was in Lisbon last year and was able to find the traditional baking cups and this recipe yielded 24 of those. I just divided each log into 12 so they are thicker. The instructions on shaping the dough are good, and I was lucky I have a video of the bakers in Lisbon shaping it, so I had an idea of how to do it too! I am making these again to practice working the dough. They are the perfect pastry to bring to holiday events as they are easy to share and so so delicious! Thank you David for such a great recipe!

    Three pasteis de nata, two face-up showing the browned spots and one upside-down, showing the delicate spiral of browned pastry

  84. Hi! I have enjoyed learning about pasteis de nata and their history! I read through the comments and did not see a question like mine. I have a convection oven that heats to 550* F. I was advised that coated/treated ovenware should not be used at this high temperature because the coating could flake off and compromise the food (make it unhealthy). Is this for older ovenware or a kitchen myth? I appreciate your guidance!

    1. Hi, Suzan. Most of the warning concerned older types of nonstick pans and usually pans that came in direct contact with heat, such as skillets. I’ve used my baking pans for years, and they have never flaked.

  85. Hi, I’m a bit confused with step 5 and 6. If I have a square dough and fold the right 1/3 of it over first, then fold the left 1/3 over, I should have a 6″x18″ rectangle with the opening end on the right. I don’t see how the fold would be facing me if I turn the dough 90 degree to the left? Shouldn’t it be facing away from me?

    1. Hi Momo, let’s see if I can clarify. Standing in front of the dough, imagine the square is divided into three vertical columns. Take the right column and fold it over to center column. Then take the left column and fold it over the center column, too. Now you have one column with folded edges on the left and right sides, and the opening on the top and bottom. Does that help?

  86. I just cooked a trial pastry before I made the rest this evening. It stuck to my muffin tin, can I lightly grease the tin for the rest?

  87. Hello! I am interested in making this recipe but my oven only goes to 500°F. May I still use this recipe and bake it for longer or will the custard not set?

    1. Mproco, you should be fine at 500°F. Just please don’t turn on the broiler, otherwise, the tops will be completely burnt. You might need to go a bit longer, but lower the temperature to 375°F or so.

  88. Have wanted to make Pastéis de Nata for a while now but have always been a bit too intimidated as they seemed a little complicated. However, I found this recipe easy to follow, with detailed step by step instructions, and was very happy with the outcome! They tasted delicious and looked authentic! I will definitely be making again in the future.

    10 pasteis de nata or Portuguese custard cups on a black marble surface

  89. I loved the pastry and the custard was creamy and well set. I did however want more flavour into the custard. How could I enfuse more flavour into it. Would you suggest more lemon rind, cinnamon stick via the hot milk or via the syrup. Thanks for the advice.

  90. Loved this recipe! I was craving these tarts after my holiday in Portugal and this recipe gets so close to the real thing (and, I’m not the best cook, but the recipe was easy to follow!). Thank you!

  91. I made these for my husband’s birthday, and they are incredible! Thanks so much for this beautiful recipe.

    I made them in standard muffin tins, which made 20 tarts. I baked them at 240°C/fan assisted (465°F/convection) for 16 minutes then turned them halfway through. Perfect!

    When making the pastry, I was very worried about how it would turn out because it is very fragile and tricky to work with. But I needn’t have worried…just be as delicate as possible and put the pastry cases in the fridge for 30 mins before filling with custard and putting them into the oven.

  92. Hi I’m going to make the custard but instead of making the pastry for the tarts I’m going to use Crossiants cut and pushed into small patty tins do you think the temperature should be as high?
    Thanks sandy.

    1. Sandy, we’ve never tried it that way, so I can’t be of much help. I know you won’t get the same quality or experience as you would with the recipe, or even using storebought puff pastry. But report back with your results!

  93. I just made these as a labor of love for my son and fiance, who recently ate them non-stop in Portugal at Antiga Confeitaria de Belem and everywhere else. They couldn’t stop raving about them and when I saw this recipe, I promised I’d attempt them. Well, I made them this week and yesterday we ate them when they visited for the weekend. The tarts were amazing! My son rated them 4 1/2 stars compared to the originals and 5 stars for overall enjoyment!

    I followed the recipe exactly. On Wednesday I made the dough. It was very time consuming but not difficult. It took more than 1 1/2 hours to keep rolling and rerolling. The trickiest part was rolling it to the 18″ dimensions. But I did the best I could, then cut the log in half, wrapped and froze them. On Friday I made the custard. I don’t have a thermometer so figured that once the sugar had disolved in the water, it was done.

    Thursday night I put one dough log in the refrigerator to defrost. Sunday morning I put it all together in a 12-cup mini muffin tin and baked the first batch. I baked each batch for about 11 minutes at 500 degrees for the custard to brown a bit. I let it cool a few minutes, and then we sprinkled confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon on top. They were amazing!!

    My son and future daughter-in-law now consider themselves experts on Pasteis de Nata. My son said “It was pretty close to the original except for the crust, which was a bit more crispy. The custard was very close to the original, a bit sweeter. Delicious!”

    They, my husband and I ate all 20 (the 2nd log is in the freezer) and had a wonderful breakfast! Don’t be afraid to make this. It’d a long process but definitely worth it, especialliy since you can make the dough in advance and freeze it. The custard made more than enough since I had leftover for the 2nd dough log (I halved the custard recipe since I was only making 20 tarts). I plan on making only 1/4 the custard recipe and freeze it with the remaining original extra custard and hopefully it will freeze well so that my younger son and girlfriend can try these when they visit!

    Thank you for this recipe! If you attemtp it, please don’t change it – follow it exactly and you will be pleased!

  94. Seven pastéis de nata--Portuguese custard pastries with flakey shells filled with a mottled burnt surface

    It was only a few years ago when I tried pastéis de nata for the first time and instantly fell in love with them. Being intimidated by their temperamental preparation, I never thought about making them myself. That was until I clapped eyes on David’s recipe.

    I’m not afraid of detailed recipes when it comes to baking as I prefer to stay alert every step of the way. Since the preparation of any kind of dough almost always puts me in a state of mental affliction, I feel much more confident when I have a thoroughly laid-out guidance to dough-making. I humbly list David’s pastéis de nata under this category of recipes.

    Pre-baking notes:
    – Following the dough preparation steps to the letter with much perseverance, I had no problem carrying out David’s instructions. The dough turned out great. I was a little clumsy placing the cut dough pieces in the cups, so they baked a little out-of-shape but I’ll do better next time.
    – For the custard, I prepared a little more than necessary because I had something different in mind. I wanted the custard to overflow so that it would create an imploded structure that’s reminiscent of the Yorkshire pudding! In order to do that, I filled the cups 5/6 full with custard, instead of 3/4 full. So it’s approximately a tablespoon of extra custard for each cup.

    Baking notes:
    – The only technical problem for me was the baking temperature. The highest temperature my oven could provide is 500°F, whereas the recipe calls for 550°F. That’s why I had to improvise a little. After 15 minutes of baking (I used a regular 12-cup muffin pan), I checked the pastries and they weren’t quite done yet, so I baked them for another 7 minutes. After 22 mins of total baking time, both the dough and the custard were well done.

    Post-baking notes:
    – The dough puffed a little more than it should. The next time I make these pastries, I’ll do the fork trick and see what happens.
    – The overflowing custard idea worked great. I obtained pastéis shaped like tiny edible bowls into which a choice of topping (I prefer a scoop of vanilla ice cream) would perfectly fit!
    – The custard recipe is so good that the baked pastries had this amazing shiny look as if they were glazed!
    – And the taste is… legendary. The ethereal smell of the baked flaky dough virtually announces the commencement of a delicious Saturnalia for taste buds. The frenzy of simple but elegant flavors is crowned with the regal quality of vanilla. It’s truly spectacular! I hope to enjoy more soon :)

    1. Baris–wow, wow, wow, wow, wow! These are the most gorgeous homemade pastéis de nata I’ve seen. And your baking notes are super helpful. Thank you for adding to the knowledge of these wonderful pastries.

  95. Hello, sir. I am a young home cook. I have made flaky-type Hong Kong egg tarts before, which are like Macau egg tarts, but less of the scorched exterior. (<Macau egg tarts are Portuguese egg tarts but kind of reinvented by the Chinese.) So I was wondering if I could use the type of tin I used for those tarts. Those are basically fluted tart tins made of very thin aluminum. Also, I’m curious if I could lower the sugar to 150g and add some vanilla extract to the sugar syrup. Thank you for this amazing recipe, sir! Sorry to bother you with so many questions even before I made the tarts.

    1. Hannah, first: Stop calling me “sir”! I feel so old when you do that. You can call me David.

      Yes, you can use those tins. You will most likely have to bake them a bit longer. (If you check out this comments above, others have done the same thing.)

      And I think lowering the sugar should be fine. I haven’t done it; my only fear is it might affect the consistency of the syrup.

  96. Wonderful recipe! I made a half batch as written and was amazed by the result. The tarts looked and tasted like those I ate in Lisbon. Two comments: for my mini muffin tin using thinner slices of the log produced a more pleasing ratio of crust to custard – 1/2″ or slightly less was perfect for me; I can’t believe with all the corrections and suggestions you received for this recipe, no one pointed out that 220 F is not the same as 100 C.

    1. mark, thanks for your comment. And I’m glad you found the right ratio for you between crust and custard. But I am confused: 220°F equals 104°C. We just rounded down 4°.

      1. Thanks for the detailed recipe. In this temperature range, 4°C is critical, so please confirm the temperature to be used: 220°F (104°C) or 100°C ?

        1. Jamie, thanks for catching that. It should be 220°F (104°C) and we’ve updated the recipe to reflect that.

  97. I made hundreds of custards for an event using your fabulous recipe… I made several batches of custard along the way. Some of the batches seemed to curdle slightly when cooked, although the unbaked custard when poured was fine… did I over bake them, or do you have another suggestion?? They still tasted delicious… Many thanks x

    Seven large trays filled with hundreds of pasteis de nata, or small Portuguese custard pastries

  98. Amazing! Pastry is much better using cups not grams. I get 20 with a standard muffin tray. Made 4 times now.

  99. Hi there
    I’m in the UK, can you please put the measurements in grams/ounces? It’s really hard to convert and I’m confused by the recipe.

  100. Wowee what a cracker of a recipe! We have an annual Eurovision party with super foodie people, so the pressure’s always on to make something awesome and this recipe did not disappoint with this year’s theme Portuguese food. Although fairly complicated, the recipe was written very clearly. We cooked in a wood fired oven starting the first batch at 300 degrees (C) and the last batch was at 220. The first batch took 4.5 mins and the last batch 12 mins but they were all awesome. We made 2 1/4 inc (6cm) tarts as we had the extra heat from the wood fired oven. They were received with rave reviews. Thanks!

  101. Hello David,

    I tried making these beauties, and boy they didn’t disappoint. However, I found them too sweet. The next time I make them, I will reduce the amount of sugar and hopefully achieve the desired results. I took the liberty to share your page with a group on facebook.

  102. My son and his Portuguese girlfriend stayed this weekend and we made these together – huge success!! The pastry was crisp and flaky, and the cinnamon custard was delicious. I had my doubts whilst making them but they turned out beautifully and were very authentic. Thanks for a great recipe!

  103. This recipe is great, I have had them in the famous cafe, and while it will never be the same it is very close. Close enough that when ever my Portuguese family are in town I have an obligation to make them. They even purchased some tins for me from Lisbon.

    I have made them till now in a traditional oven (full-sized tins) at high altitude 4500 feet at 475°F for 14 minutes and have had mixed results. Even the mistakes are great to eat! :)

    Now in a convection oven that cooks at 550°F, the first batch baked for 14 minutes, and the dough was soft and not crispy. I did not thumb this batch, so I can not say if they were as thin as they could have been. The tops got that nice “burn.”

    Next batch had thin bottoms and baked at 550°F for 15 minutes. I hope to get this dialed. Thanks for making this recipe public. :)

    One line that I remember from the baker in Lisbon is, “The dough must be so thin, like bible paper!” good luck there, ha ha. I get it thin but not that thin.

    1. Barrymore, convection ovens will always do a better job of browning the top. That’s what they have in Lisbon. I didn’t mention that in the recipe, because when I developed it, few people had convection settings. I think I shall add it. And if you have a soggy bottom (or rather your pastéis do), it usually means that dough it too thick. So glad you liked them.

  104. I made these for Easter and they were a big hit! I had been too intimidated to make these previously but they were actually pretty easy. I used a scale to weigh ingredients and used a mini muffin pan. Per my oven thermometer, my oven got up to 600 degrees and I still didn’t get the burn marks on the custard! So I cheated and used a torch! Our Portuguese family was very happy! Will definitely make these again.

    1. Jana, hurrah! I’m thrilled that you liked them so much and that it worked for you. Yes, I’ll admit: It is a bit of an intimating recipe–but only from a distance. When you get into it, it’s fun and the results are delicious!

      As far as not getting a brown top, try this next time: Place a baking stone above and another one below the rack the pastries will be baked on. Let the oven and stones heat up. Give this a good long time, as the stones need extra time to heat up. This creates an intense mini oven that mimics what they have in Belem.

  105. Hi David,

    My husband was born in Brazil, and we always buy pasteis de Mata when we visit Newark, NJ. We decided today to try to make our own. We are so impressed with ourselves! Thank you for the great, easy-to-follow recipe. We had no shrinking dough, no boil overs, and no regrets!

    Portuguese custard pastries--crust shells filled with yellow custard--also called pasteis de nata on a wire rack

  106. I work at a bakery and constantly see them pumping out Portuguese tarts every day and they’re always so popular. So, when I had some egg yolks left over from a recipe I decided to give this recipe a try. Since I was short on time, I used store-bought puff pastry but applied some butter in between layers as I was rolling it out. When they came out of the oven, the tops were a lovely golden brown and the pastry was golden as well. A few of the bottoms were a little doughy due to me not thinning them out enough and the custard spilled out of a few, but they were delicious. I plan on making them again soon so this time I’ll be sure to thin out my pastry as well as pull the dough all the way up the sides.

  107. Over the years I have tried various recipes for the Portuguese custard tarts and decided that I’m better off just buying them. Even when they did turn out, they were too time-consuming. When I saw this recipe some time ago, I thought I’d like to give it a try. I was looking for a recipe that I could flavour with juniper berries for a dinner party with venison as the main. These tarts were familiar to my guests, so I thought I’d go for the wow factor and switch up the cinnamon stick for crushed juniper berries. I also used shallow fluted tart tins and ready-made puff pastry that I always keep in the freezer for last minute preparations. The yield on the filling was 8 tarts. I loved that I could keep the filling refrigerated until ready to use as well as the preprepared tart crusts. My oven doesn’t heat above 500°F, so I baked these for 17 minutes. What an amazing velvety, creamy, tasty filling dotted with just the right scorch to identify as inspired by pastéis de nata! Can’t wait to make these again with the cinnamon in the mini tins and serve them to my Portuguese family! Perfect filling recipe for Portuguese custard tarts!

  108. Phenomenal. I love baking and I usually only make recipes that receive 4.5 stars and above on over 1000 reviews. And this recipe makes the cut–simply fantastic. My husband and I have been going to the Italian Centre and we often sit with a hot cup of tea and enjoy one of these. But I thought I’d give this recipe a go at home and it surpasses those in the Italian Centre. Thank you for sharing.

  109. Can’t wait to try this recipe. I’ve tried others in the past, which weren’t so great. Gonna buy the ingredients today and hope it all turns out well, so I can surprise my family. We grew up with these having these as a weekly treat now living here in Florida we cannot get them. Only when we go back home to Massachusetts for vacation we get to enjoy these. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  110. Hi there.

    So this is the third time I’ve attempted to make Pastel de Nata. My puff pastry is so puffed that they look like big bite custard canapés. The first time I burnt them, the second was a success but didn’t have much of a puff.

    It seems like this time it rose for all the attempts. Any ideas why it did so?

    Two muffin tins in an oven filled with pasteis de nata or Portuguese custard cups

    1. Beverlie, sorry, but I had to laugh at your comment. Thank God I have a lot of hair because I pull some out every time I make these.

      Just know: This is a finicky recipe. The reason why your puff puffed so much is that you made it EXTREMELY well. It means your layers of dough were well laminated with butter. One thing you can do to prevent this is to prick the dough with a fork or toothpick before adding the filling. It allows steam to escape.

  111. I finally decided to give these tarts a try since moving to Minnesota and realizing I could not find these here anywhere. I was a bit nervous attempting to make these but this recipe turned out exactly the I had hoped. I had a bit of difficulty of working with the pastry – it stuck to the table quite a bit even quite a bit of flour. I was afraid I wasn’t going get those layers because my folding technique wasn’t all that great, but after baking them I managed to see all those great layers. This recipe was great! I loved it!

    Also as a side note for those making it in the reg, sized muffin pans – I kept mine in the oven for 12mins and they came out perfect.

    Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Ashely, Brava! These little suckers aren’t easy to make–especially in full-size muffin tins. Thanks for your timing note, too. Do you happen to have a photo, perchance?

  112. I see you say you need mini muffin tin with 2 inch by 5/8 inch wells. Can you clarify what that means. I have regular muffin tins that measure 2 5/8 inch’s in diameter. I think mini muffin tins are much much smaller than that. So is what I have correct? I just measured the top of the muffin tin well from one side to the other and it measured 2 5/8 inches wide.

    1. Hello, Dan. Sure. The tins are 2 inches in diameter but only 5/8 inch high. Many readers here have made them in larger tins, and that’s fine. (I often make them in the original individual tins.) Just make sure to cook them a bit longer.

  113. Hi David, I want to make these for a friend’s birthday, but I only have a standard sized muffin tin. In your recipe, you direct to roll the dough to an inch in diameter and 16 inches long, and to cut it into scant 3/4-inch pieces. Do you have any recommendation on dough dimensions and cooking time for a standard muffin sized tin versus the mini muffins?

    1. Cara, it’s been a long time since I made them in a regular-sized tin. But go with 1 1/2 inches. (Your yield will be less, of course.) Then increase the baking time. Some of our readers have found 16 to 17 minutes is best.

      1. Thank you! One more question…I saw you said the dough can be made the day before and refrigerated, do you think the dough would last a few days in the fridge if I had to make it a little more in advance?

  114. Just made these today. The first bite into my test pastry immediately took me back to Portugal! Since I live at an altitude of 4000 feet, the cooking time varies slightly where I am, but in general following the recipe as written worked pretty well. I had to experiment with rack position and baked in a slightly larger muffin tin at 500°F, although I had some issues getting the bottom to brown due to my inconsistent gas oven temperature. It seems that straight out of the fridge my dough was already the right length and diameter, so after my first batch I decided to skip rolling a bit thinner and went straight to cutting the pieces (1 inch for the larger tin size). This helped maintain the crispy, chewy crust, since I handled the dough less. The custard also can jiggle very slightly when you take it out so that it doesn’t overcook. Thanks for sharing the tasty recipe! My whole family enjoyed the pastries.

  115. After tasting the originals my daughter and son-in-law brought me as they flew home through Portugal, and deciding they were the best thing I’ve ever eaten, I was on a quest to find a recipe I could bake in my Kansas kitchen!! After searching I found this recipe and finally today gave it a try.

    Although this first time through I cheated and used refrigerated puff pastry dough, I followed the custard recipe and baking according to how it is written with the exception that my oven would only go to 525 degrees. The thin custard made me nervous, but I trusted the process.

    I did bake 12 pastries in regular sized US muffin tins, which seemed a perfect amount to accomplish the crust explained in the recipe. Although a few of mine I must have gotten too thin on the bottom as some filling drained through, I refilled and popped in the hot oven.

    After 11 minutes at 525 degrees these beautiful danishes came out of the oven browned beautifully, shiny and even a few browned circles like the original!! After a very short cool, and carefully taking them out of the pans, it was finally time to try them!

    With a steaming cup of coffee we all very, very much enjoyed them and my daughter and husband insisted they were better than the originals. I however, enjoyed every bite, but know by cheating with the purchased puff pastry they were not what they should be and could have been close to the first perfect one I tasted if I had made it myself.

    Thank you for this fantastic recipe!! Next time I will honor these great, special pastries and follow the recipe all the way through!

  116. Hi, David. Just to say that I made the Portuguese tart recipe recently, and it was a hit. It was the strangest dough I have ever worked with, and I was quite skeptical it would turn out but it was really light and crispy–so amazing. It was quite sticky and I think I’ll give it another try at some point as I’d make a few adjustments in my technique. Making a custard with sugar syrup was also new to me and could not believe the custard was able to set in the 9 minute baking time. I’m glad I stuck with it. I baked them in a standard 12 cup muffin tin and was able to make about 26 tarts overall.

    Pasties de Nata | Portuguese Custard Cups Recipe

    1. TG, your tarts look amazing! The dough is different, I agree. I’m continually trying to perfect this recipe for readers, so I would love to know what changes you made to it. We can compare notes!

    1. Nadine, alas no. I have seen some people who freeze them after they’re baked, but I can’t imagine they are any good. Even the famous pastéis from Portugal are just meh the day after baking. These are best made and eaten the sam day.

  117. Thank you so much for this recipe! My husband lived in Portugal for 2 years and craves the food! I made these for his birthday and he was in heaven. Thank you for the detailed instructions that made making them so easy! I will be making them again (probably for his birthday every year!)

  118. I’m very excited to make the recipe, I’m in the process or re-reading and unstanding the recipe.

    My one question is about the butter, this is the first time I have seen a pastry using room temperature stirred butter, could you tell me what this process is called?

    To me it almost seems like phyllo or filo dough with butter spread!

      1. Do you know of other recipes that use this method.

        I have worked with all kinds of pastry dough but always using cold butter or pliable, I have never used temperature room stirred butter that you spread onto the dough! I am still having a hard time visualizing the process, do you have a video?

        I am just very intrigued, do pasteis de nata recipes (including the dough of course) use this method?

        1. Ogi, it’s the ONLY recipe I know that uses it. I don’t have a video. (I know, I know, I keep promising). Imagine spreading soft butter on white bread. I use a small offset spatula and carefully spread the butter over the thinly rolled pastry dough.

          1. Total success on the first try – 500 degree convection oven, one half the recipe worked perfectly, the pastry was flawless, beautiful golden custard with brown spots too. The Belem custard tarts are a tad better but these will keep us happy much closer to home.

          2. Do you have this recipe in grams instead of cups? I measure everything and would love to know the measurements in weight thank you!

            1. Ogi, we’ve added the metric equivalents to the recipe and we retested it using these amounts and it worked perfectly. So you can make the recipe, using the metric amounts, with confidence.

  119. Hi David,
    Pastéis de Nata are my absolute favorite pastries in the whole world (closely followed by Apple Strudel)! :) I’m not Portuguese but I grew up eating these pastries at our local Chinese bakery in Peru! In fact, I always identified this type of pastry with China and not Portugal. But I, later on, learned that these egg tarts were introduced in China by Portugal. Chinese food is extremely popular in Peru (where we call them “Chifas”), but Chifas didn’t sell pastries. For that, you had to go to a Chinese bakery! Unfortunately, I can’t remember what they were called in Spanish (you would just point them with your finger at the counter and you would get them!). Another Chinese pastry that I loved was the “bow ties” or “corbatas” which were really yummy but sticky because they were glazed with some kind of dense syrup. When I moved to the States I learned that Pastéis de Nata were originally from Portugal and, lucky for me back then, there was a Portuguese grocery store close to my apartment…so I indulged in them as much as I could! One of the reasons I bought your cooking book was because of the recipe for the Pastéis de Nata. I need to bake them again! :)

  120. Hi David,
    When you say to cut the log in half, you mean to slice it crosswise and not lengthwise correct?


  121. Hi David,

    I did it! I made the pastry with your recipe, except I used pure cream, no milk, vanilla bean, cornflour (cornstarch) instead of flour, and it all worked. The pastry isn’t as nice as yours but it was my first time making puff pastry, so it may get better?

    I rested the dough overnight and used aluminum pans. I had the oven on the highest heat and cooked them for 15 minutes. I watched them and they looked like the wanted a longer time to cook. Here they are.

    Pastéis de Nata Recipe

    I grow a vanilla bean orchid, fresh vanilla beans on tap. See picture. They are expensive to buy but so easy to grow. Even a cutting they grow well. We have been to New York from the Sunshine Coast Queensland Australia many times and adored our time there.

    Vanilla Bean Plant

    I started reading your site and every stroke has the reader gaining personal growth. Amazing.

    Since the death of my mother, I look at items I buy or hold dear, they are all about triggers of our memories. Things you can keep, that stay with you renewing precious memories from those no longer with us.

    It is amazing that when you search the web for a recipe, you get a journey from an author with such depth and a soul that is so generous.

    Thank you, David.

    Kind regards

    1. My, Janine. Those are handsome pastéis de nata! I’m sure with a bit of practice, the pastry will be perfect. And I’m jealous of you having a vanilla plant. Alas, it would never grown here.

      Thank you kindly for your words. It means a lot to me. I never wanted to have have a site that was only recipes. I wanted to connect with readers in a different way, a more personal (and sometimes non-food) way.

  122. Hi David I have just finished making the Portugese custard tarts unfortunately I had pools of butter and the pastry fried instead of puffing I did follow instructions (I thought ) very well but something definately went wrong! Do you have suggestions on overcoming this with the pastry, the custard tasted great
    Thanks Tony

    1. Tony, was the dough thoroughly, completely chilled? Is your oven correctly calibrated? If your oven is cool, it would cause the butter to melt before the pastry had a change to puff a bit.

  123. Hi, David – Thanks for answering. The recipe in your book does call for “blind-baking,” (filling the shells with rice or beans to pre-bake them) though it doesn’t use that terminology – Therefore, I assumed you had used this technique. In the most recent effort, the pastry was thicker after blind-baking, therefore didn’t hold as much custard. Maybe, I need to be sure to pay more attention to form-fitting each piece to the muffin cup sides, then pricking well and freezing before blind-baking. Nothing burned this time – I blind-baked at 350, then baked with the custard at 425, then broiled for a couple minutes to get some brown spots. Custard tasted great right after baking, but was a little overdone after it continued to cook on the counter. Put them in the fridge as I am trying to determine if I could make a day ahead of serving. Somewhere I read that it is possible to Reheat a bit before serving (Was that you or someone else??). What did you mean when you said that people found the heavy cream “easier״ to use than milk? How about light cream?

    1. Ah, now I understand!! I added the blind baking instructions in the book because it calls for packaged pastry. (My editors felt the recipe would be too long if we included the pastry recipe, too.) There’s no need to blind bake with this recipe. The handmade pastry should be very thin as you pull it up the sides. Also, you’re using full-size tins versus the mini tins, which does make a difference. Regarding making a day ahead, I find they never come out the same. I prefer to let the handmade dough and custard sit overnight in the fridge and then assemble and bake them the day of if I’m in a rush. And about milk vs. cream, some testers found it easier to burn the milk rather than cream. If this doesn’t give you the answers you need, please drop me an email with your telephone number and we can chat. david [at] leitesculinaria [.] com.

      1. Thanks again for your help. I think I had better blind-bake as I am using the packaged puff pastry. Maybe I can do that and then let the shells sit on the counter overnight and fill and bake on the 31st. How long would you feel comfortable about letting the finished custards sit unrefrigerated? Did I mention that these are for our annual New Year’s Eve dinner party at which we serve dishes inspired by the year’s travel (2016 included Cuba, Portugal, and Spain!). This is one of three desserts – The chocolate salami is done and in the freezer; the Pasteis de Tentúgal is a snap to make – I tested once and was happy with the result. Only P de Nata has given me fits – great test for whether or not your oven browns evenly!! I may have to chicken out and do them ahead. I did slightly reheat one tonight – Not bad and it would solve the problem of how long to leave unrefrigerated after baking. Interesting answer about the milk vs. cream. Maybe light cream is the answer. What do you think they use in Belem? I would love to chat with you – Will send you my phone number by email with a copy of this post.

        1. Sounds like a divine dinner, Kathy. To make pastéis de nata well takes a lot of practice. And, if I am to be entirely frank, no cookbook recipe I have ever tried (and I have tried a gazillion) comes truly close to the original. So don’t be hard on yourself.

          When I visited the Confeitaria de Bélem, I was told it’s the custard is a secret recipe. I can say that the custard that goes in the shells is thick. Much thicker than this recipe. But this version came from a former chef at the Portuguese restaurant Alfama in NYC, who is from Lisbon.

          1. Once again, thanks! I think I will concentrate on 1) making sure the shells are really thin; 2) making the custard thicker (Hope this is not a mistake); 3) Watch the baking like a hawk to avoid burning.

              1. I did send it. Maybe it is in your spam folder. I will send it again and maybe we can compare notes AFTER New Years. Just made the Tentugal – Did I say it was a snap? Well, only if you live in a humid climate. It must have been a little bit humid in Denver last week. Today, however, is very dry and I could not work fast enough and uncover the filo, one sheet at a time, before it would totally dry out! So they are tasty, but not as pretty as last week’s.

                  1. The Pasteis de Nata were very good. Attached is a photo. I decided to make the custard using mostly half-and-half cream and cornstarch instead of flour—this created a thick custard which I refrigerated overnight and baked in my prebaked shells which had sat on the counter overnight. I left the finished tarts on the counter until dinner time, when our New Year’s Eve guests polished off quite a few! Even the next morning, the leftover custards were smooth and thick though the crust had hardened. Someday, when I am not creating an entire dinner, I may make the dough from scratch.

                    David, I also made your codfish and shrimp fritters for appetizers, but didn’t get a chance to photograph them before they were all gobbled up (a huge success). My husband loves the milk mayo (we have a lot left of that).

                    Pasteis de Nata Recipe

                    1. Kathy, they look great! So happy everyone loved them. And I love that you made the codfish and shrimp fritters. They’re one of my favorites. Happy 2017!

                    2. Hi David, can I used half cream half milk? Also can I scrap a vanilla bean and add that instead of the vanilla extract.

                      David, what a kind generous person you are. Thanks for all of your amazing tips I am in Sunshine Coast Queensland Australia. I will attach a photo when I bake these.

                      Thank you.

                    3. Janine, I think you certainly can on both counts. I had only one way of making these until all of our wonderful readers came to us with variations. Looking forward to seeing your creations. And, thanks for the compliment.

  124. Hi, David – I am experimenting with making these pastries in preparation for a New Year’s Eve party next week. Used commercial puff pastry. Made them once in mini pans and did not like the result except that they did brown on top. The effort in regular muffin pans was better, but custard did not brown so I broiled for a couple of minutes – Then the custard was browned with the spots, but overdone a bit and the pastry was burned on edges. In both cases, I “blind-baked” the pastry shells, pricking the bottoms and using the technique with beans to keep the shell in place (have done this with pie shells for years). Next time I think I will have to bake them at a lower temp (350 F maybe) so that they don’t brown and later, when under the broiler, burn. Do I need to cook the filled tarts in regular muffin tins for less time or at a temp lower than 425 F so that they don’t overcook? Of course, I am comparing the results to what we had last fall in Portugal – Not there yet, but I will probably be happy if the pastry doesn’t burn and the custard is not overlooked! Oh – and I have your book “The New Portuguese Table,” in which the recipe does call for heavy cream instead of milk – Any comment on that?

    1. Kathy, as I’ve said to others, this recipe is a tough one!! It’s so delicate and complicated. On top of that, you’ve made so many changes that unless I go through a series of batches recreating what you did, I really can’t give you a definitive answer!! I’m so sorry. I’ve never blind-baked the pastries. One suggest is trying a baking stone. It will allow for more even heating. Do you have a brulee torch? That might help direct the browning to the custard and not the pastry. I used cream in the cookbook recipe because people found the cream easier to use. Either is fine.

  125. Hi, I’ve always been too afraid to even try to make these, but finally dared with this recipe, and it was a glorious triumph (in my humble opinion)! Thanks.

    But I’d like to join the call for a metric version, especially for the pastry: All the converters I use result in too liquid a dough for the pastry (260gr flour and 200 gram water). At the moment I’m just adding flour until it seems stiff enough… And does one really need 225gr butter? I found 200gr plenty.

    Similarly for the filling, 260gr sugar makes this very sweet, and I’m no sugar minimizer.

    All I want for Christmas is the metric version, please, I’ve been a good boy.
    I have a suggestion that I’m sure will improve this in any oven, but especially in ordinary kitchen ovens (max. approx. 240 C): Heat the oven on the maximum for at least 40 minutes with a “pizza steel/oven” or similar heat accumulator. Place the tin directly on the steel, and see the pastry crisp up even right at the bottom, I frankly don’t think it is worth baking this otherwise in a normal kitchen oven

    1. Andre…and you didn’t take notes as you cooked so you could figure out the metric?! (Just joking.) After the holidays, we plan on tackling this. Right now all our kitchens are bursting with recipe testing as well as recipes for our families. But hang in there, it’s coming!

  126. Hi David

    Do you have a video of this recipe, I’m a newbie at baking and just a little confused about folding the dough. Would be grateful if you can help, thanks.

  127. Hi David! Thank you for the recipe. I just had a question.. it’s it 1 1/3 cups of sugar and 2/3 cups of water? Or is it 2 1/3 of water..? I want to make sure the ratio is exact. Thank you!

  128. Hi, David. Great recipe! The method for the puff pastry though was a little bit too advanced for me. Butter kept seeping out because it was probably hot in the house. The result was the pastry did not have layers and didn’t puff up so much. Do you think rough puff pastry method can be used? Also, I was wondering if I can use a vanilla bean instead of extract. Thanks!

    1. Rodney, yes, rough puff would work. Just make sure to do the rolling process because it creates the characteristic spiral. And yes, vanilla bean would work, too.

  129. Dear David, is there a way to get the list of ingredients in grams? The converter on the page was of no help unfortunately. I bake a lot but I use scales- it’s easier and accurate. Scales are commonly used by home bakers across Europe. I can not even imagine trying to measure butter by spoon :) but being serious: not two cups of flour will weigh the same, as you know. Some flours are densely packed, some are not…

    1. Marta, many thanks for your query. We completely agree with you that weights are vastly more accurate for baking. We’ve been including metric equivalents in our recipes for many months now but this recipe was developed prior to that using (you guessed it) cups and spoons. We’re retesting the recipe, using our metric conversions, and as soon as we have the amounts perfected we’ll drop you a note. Should take us no longer than a few days. Many thanks for your patience!

      1. Thank you. I’m looking forward to revised recipe. I recalculated the recipe using on- line converters but I’m not sure if the end result was perfect. The dough was very pliable and soft, too soft to handle properly. Also my oven’s top temperature is 250C, What would be ideal baking time? I’d suggest adding slice of lemon rind as well as cinnamon stick while making custard and using a bit more salt in the dough.

        1. Marta, was the dough pliable after it had been properly refrigerated? It shouldn’t have been.

          As far as baking time, we didn’t test the recipe at 250°C, so you’ll have to watch carefully. My guess is an additional 3 to 4 minutes.

          Many people do add lemon to the custard. That wasn’t what I was taught, but it is lovely!

  130. Hi! I bought a couple of boxes in Lisbon as gifts and I couldn’t give them out today. Should I refrigerate them for tomorrow or just leave them?

    1. Antonia, they can be refrigerated, but you might get some puddling of liquid (sugar) on top. Just blot them with a paper towel. I always like to reheat them in a warm oven before serving again.

  131. Hello David,
    A group of us are off to Lisbon and the Algarve next week and we had a planning dinner last night. A friend had told me about these tarts so I decided to make them and after surfing the net decided your recipe would be the closest to the real thing (which we’ve never had!)

    I used commercial puff pastry and some smallish but not mini-muffin cups and despite my not reading your directions properly the tarts turned out not bad. In fact the others loved them! I just have a couple of suggestions, things that I found later by scrolling through the comments, that would be helpful if you added them to the directions: explain that the custard will be runny, but that it will firm up in the baking. (Other recipes require a thick custard so it becomes confusing). Also, you respond to one query by saying the dough should be paper thin, but you talk about 1/8″ in the directions. I think you could change that 1/8″ to 1/16″ as it makes a pretty thick base. Finally, as to the size of muffin tins, that is a challenge. I have several mini-muffin tins but they are smaller than your dimensions, so I had to go to one very old pan with smallish cups and one regular modern pan. There really wasn’t any difference in how they baked, other than I had to bake them for about 11-12 minutes. The hard part was figuring out how much pastry for each tin. I realised I had put too much in, but even so, the tarts were yummy. Thanks!

  132. Hi David! Thanks for the recipe, I loved them. I have one small question though, mine didn’t turn out “shiny,” the custard comes out of the oven opaque…What could I be doing wrong?

  133. I just made these in standard muffin tins and they turned out PERFECT. I halved the recipe and got 12 muffin-sized pastéis. Read in the comments a bit, so I made sure the bottoms were thin and pricked with a fork. I pulled the dough up around the rim of the tins so it wouldn’t slide down too much, which worked fine, they shrunk just the right amount. About 7 min on 250°C, then 6-7 more on 225. Browned them a bit with one of those Créme Brulée -broiler thingies. My flatmates are already demanding more, so I will definitely do this again! Thank you!

    Pasteis de Nata Recipe

  134. Hi David!!

    Greetings from Singapore. I tried your recipe, and I really liked the cinnamon blend to it. I think I didn’t do great on the crust, but I can definitely try again. If I’m making the crust and custard in advance, how long can in keep them in the fridge? Should it be kept freezed or chilled?

    Appreciate all your help!


    1. Arcane, thanks of the kind words. I admit this recipe is a hard one. You can keep the custard mixture and dough in the fridge for a few days. The dough can be frozen up to 3 months. You shouldn’t freeze the custard mixture.

      1. Thanks for your prompt response David. I’m looking forward to my next trial session. Thinking of blending in a little lemon and cream cheese for some of my folks who love ’em this way. But I’m gunna keep the lovely cinnamon definitely. =)

  135. Hi David! I can’t wait to try your recipe. My son is going to Lisbon early next month for some music festival. I am definitely asking him to bring me some pasteis tins. Can you suggest of other related stuff I should ask him to bring! When are you going to make a video of this recipe?

    P.S. The website belongs to my son (junior), feel free to visit.

    1. Eddie, hope you like it. I can say that what your son will have at the Confeitaria de Belém is a million times better than any recipe I have ever had from a home cook. The pastéis are divine. As far as related cooking items, how about a cataplana?