Author Topic: Portugues - Egg Custard Tarts  (Read 4786 times)

Olga Drozd

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Portugues - Egg Custard Tarts
« on: March 27, 2011, 01:26:44 PM »
PORTUGUESE EGG TARTS - PASTEIS DE NATA:

Recipe is from a Portuguese lady. These are made with puff pastry shells.  They're smooth and delicious, sweet but not cloying, and yellow with egg yolk (especially if you use good free range eggs). These are baked in a hot oven, then finished off briefly under the broiler to get those large black splotches on top. I used President's Choice Butter Puff Pastry. There are two pre-rolled sheets in a package (10 inch X 10 inch).  I did have to roll  each sheet slightly more to fit 6 rounds in each one. The eggs used were Naturegg Omega PRO. I used a 4 1/2 inch bowl to cut my rounds. I didn't let my tartlets get splotches on because I did not put them close to the element when broiling- I'm always afraid I might burn them. I think maybe next time I will make them in smaller muffin tins because there is a lot of filling in these tasty tarts. Why is it I never have enough tartlets lasting for another day? Men they eat everything in one sitting!

 For the smaller tarts I used a 2 1/2 inch glass to cut the rounds. Baking is about the same, when the custard puff up like mushrooms then broil them for a few minutes.  For the small batch I made them sweeter by using a full cup of sugar. I made about 2 1/2 dozen small tarts.  I didn't have to roll out the sheet of puff pastry for the smaller ones--each sheet fits 1 dozen.  Re-roll the leftover dough to make the rest. We like the small ones better. I put the small tarts close to the broiler this time.

1/2 recipe (1 3/4 pound) Rough Puff (recipe below) OR 3/4 pound store bought all butter puff pastry
Scant 1 cup sugar
Scant 1/2 cup all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1 3/4 cups whole or reduced fat milk
2 drops pure vanilla extract (optional)
6 large or extra-large egg yolks, preferably free-range

Set out ONE 12-cup or TWO 6-cup muffin tins.


Cut the pastry into 3 equal pieces.  Work with 1 piece at a time, keeping the remaining pastry loosely covered with plastic in the refrigerator.  On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a very thin square about 10 inches across.  Using a plate or a pot lid as a guide, with a very sharp knife, cut out FOUR - 5-inch circles.  Place each circle over a muffin cup and then gently press down to slide it into place.  Repeat with the remaining dough.  Wrap the muffin tin(s) in plastic and put in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and place a baking stone or unglazed quarry tiles, if you have them, on the rack. Preheat the oven to 475 F. for at least 20 - 30 minutes.

Mix together the sugar, flour, and salt in a bowl; set aside.


Heat the milk and optional vanilla almost to a boil in a heavy saucepan.  Sift the flour mixture over the milk and use a wooden spoon to stir it in.  Cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent sticking, until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

Place the egg yolks in a bowl and whisk until smooth.  Stir in a little (about 1/2 cup) of the hot milk mixture, then gradually add the egg mixture to the saucepan, whisking to keep it smooth.  Transfer to a jug or large measuring cup with a spout.

Remove the pastry shells from the freezer.  Pour the filling into the shells, filling them nearly to the top, and immediately place on the baking stone or tiles, (or on a baking sheet) on the oven rack.  Bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until the custard puffs up.  Turn the oven to broil and cook for another 2 to 4 minutes, until the filling is well touched with dark brown patches. Wearing oven mitts, tip the tartlets out onto a rack and let cool. I did not tip my tartlets out I used a knife to go around them and then with a fork gently removed them from under the bottom.

These are best eaten warm or at room temperature, within 24 hours.  If keeping for longer than 6 hours, refrigerate, covered. Makes 12 substantial puff pastry tartlets, filled with a rich egg custard.

Large Tarts


Small Tarts (2" Diameter x 5/8" Deep)

ROUGH PUFF:

Here is a simplified version of puff pastry often called rough puff. In rough pastry, it is a richer basic dough with fewer folds. The pastry is flaky and puffed, but not as high and regular puff pastry.  Rough puff is great for simple tarts, both sweet and savory. It is very useful and practical item to have in the freezer.

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound frozen unsalted butter (2 sticks) - divided
6 Tablespoons ice water, or as needed


BY HAND: Place the flour and salt in a bowl and mix well.  Coarsely grate HALF the butter, then add to the flour with a pastry cutter or two knives and cut in to blend.  Add the lemon juice, then add 1/4 cup ice water.  Mix gently with your hands, then try to pull the dough together.  If the dough is still dry and will not come together into a mass, add a little more water as needed.

USING A FOOD PROCESSOR:  Coarsely chop half the butter.  Place the flour and salt in the bowl of the processor, add the chopped butter, and process briefly to the texture of coarse meal.  Add the lemon juice and 1/4 cup ice water and process briefly.  If the dough is still dry and will not come together into a kneadable mass, add more water as necessary.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly, until evenly moist and smooth.  Place in a plastic bag, flatten to a disk, and seal well.  Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.  (This basic dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)

When ready to proceed, place the dough on a lightly floured surface.  You want to flatten it out to a rectangle about 16 inches long and 10 inches wide. (After being chilled, the dough will be a little moist; lightly dust any sticky places with flour and keep surfaces lightly dusted.)  First use a lightly floured rolling pin to flatten the dough, then roll it out, rolling from the center outward. Use a dough scraper as necessary to unstick it from your work surface.  Set aside, lightly covered.

Use a sharp knife to cut the remaining 1/4 pound frozen butter into thin slices. Put it in a food processor and process until the butter stops make banging noises against the sides (about 30 seconds).  Stop and feel the texture of the butter; There will probably still be small lumps.  Process for another 30 seconds and test again. The butter should be a smooth paste still quite stiff with cold, just spreadable, like a thick cream cheese.  Pulse and test again if necessary until you get the right texture (up to 2 minutes total).

Place the dough with a short end facing you. Use a long metal spatula to spread HALF the butter onto the bottom 2/3 of the dough rectangle, leaving a 1-inch margin at the bottom and sides. Fold the top 1/3 over, toward the center, then, like folding a letter, fold the bottom 1/3 over that. Dust very lightly with flour and rotate 90 degrees, so that once more a short end is facing you.  Roll out, rolling from the center outward, until once again the rectangle measures about 16 inches long and 8 to 10 inches wide.  Spread the remaining butter evenly over the bottom 2/3 of the rectangle, leaving a margin as before, and again fold over first the top 1/3 and then the bottom 1/3.

Lightly dust the dough with flour, rotate it 90 degrees, and roll out to the same-sized rectangle.  You need to do TWO more foldings (known as "turns"), not to enclose any more butter, but just to create more layers.  Fold the top 1/3 of the dough over the center, then fold the bottom 1/3 over that.  If the dough is starting to get springy and to resist, you may want to let it rest for 5 minutes; cover and refrigerate it any time you let it rest.  Rotate and then roll out and fold the dough for the fourth time.  Chill for at least 30 minutes before using.  You can refrigerate the dough for up to 3 days, or freeze, well sealed in plastic, for up to a month (make sure that the dough lies flat and that the edges do not get bent over).  to thaw, place frozen pastry in the refrigerator.

To use the dough, dust the work surface with a little flour, because the dough will be a little moist.  Use a lightly floured rolling pin to flatten the dough, then roll it out, rolling just to the edges, not over them.

Just before baking, trim each edge with a sharp knife to create a clean edge so the pastry can puff as it should.  Save the trimmings:  Assemble side by side to make a patchwork of dough, or dust the trimmings with sugar and bake on a baking sheet for 5 to 7 minutes at 425 F. to make a delicious snack.  Makes 1 1/2 pounds pastry for sweet or savory tarts and tartlets.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2011, 10:16:25 AM by Slavko Drozd »