Pasteis de Nata – Portuguese Custard Tarts

This recipe will teach you how to make the famous Portuguese custard tarts, Pasteis de Nata! The flaky crust pairs amazingly with the creamy custard. Make the dough a day ahead of time to make the process simpler the day of baking.


Pasteis de Nata, Portuguese Custard Tarts stacked

Pasteis de Nata

This recipe will teach you how to make the famous Portuguese custard tarts, Pasteis de Nata! The flaky crust pairs amazingly with the creamy custard. Make the dough a day ahead of time to make the process simpler the day of baking.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 3 hours
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Portuguese


Pastry Dough

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup + 1 tbsp water
  • 8 oz butter


  • tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1⅔ cup half and half
  • cup sugar
  • tsp cinnamon
  • cup water
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 egg yolks large


Pastry Dough

  • In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the flour, salt and water until a soft dough forms that pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 30 seconds. Alternatively, mix with a spoon or spatula for about 2 minutes and then kneed with your hands for about about 2 minutes, shaping the dough into a ball. Let the dough rest for about 10 minutes before rolling it out. (Note: after mixing the dough and letting it rest for 10 minutes it should feel slightly tacky, if the dough feels too sticky you could mix in another 2 tablespoons of flour.)
  • Cut the 8 ounces of butter into tabs and place on 3 separate plates, 1/3 of the butter on each plate.
    butter 4885
  • Flour your work surface and roll the dough into a 7" x 7" square. Flour the dough, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest for 15 -30 minutes. (Note: the reason you let the dough rest for 15 to 30 minutes is to develop gluten. Anytime water mixes with wheat flour it begins to develop gluten. This makes the dough more stretchy and pliable and less likely to tear).
  • Roll the dough into an 16" x 16" square. Make sure the underside is not sticking to your work surface. Add more flour to your work surface as needed. Brush the excess flour off the top of the dough. Using a spatula, dot and then spread ⅓ of the butter on ⅔ portion of the dough, being careful to leave a 1 inch (25 mm) border around the edge of the dough without butter. Neatly fold the un-buttered right ⅓ of the dough, using a pastry scraper to loosen if it sticks to the counter, over the middle ⅓ of the dough. Brush off any excess flour, then fold the left ⅓ of the dough over the top. The result should be about a 16" by 5" rectangle. Fold the rectangle over itself to create a rough square.
    nata 2
  • Roll out the dough to again form a 16" x 16" square. Repeat this process twice more using the remaining ⅔ of the butter.
  • With the dough in a 16" x 16" square, roll the dough into a log.
    nata roll
  • Wrap the log in plastic and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or overnight. *At this point you can also freeze the dough for up to two months.
    IMG 0932

Custard Filling

  • In a medium bowl, whisk flour and ¼ cup of the half and half until smooth to create a slurry.
  • Bring the sugar, cinnamon, and water to a boil in a small saucepan and cook until about 215°F.
  • In a large saucepan scald the remaining half and half. Bringing it up to about 180-190°F. Whisk the hot half and half into the flour slurry.
  • While still hot, pour the sugar syrup in a thin stream into the half and half mixture whisking briskly. Add the vanilla and stir for a minute until very warm but not hot. Let the half and half/sugar/water mixture cool off for 10 minutes, or until the temperature drops below 150°F.
  • Whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time, and set aside. If desired, the custard can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 3 days. (Note: if you make your filling up to this point a few days ahead of time make sure you stir all the liquid ingredients together for a few seconds before pouring them into the tart shells.


  • Heat oven to 500-525 F°(285°C). Place an oven rack in the top third of the oven. Remove pastry roll from the refrigerator. Cut the pastry roll in about 3/8 " to 1" thick rounds. After the first cut test the size before cutting the remainder of the dough. The size of your cut will depend on the size of your molds. To test, place a dough round, cut side down, into one muffin tin. Have a small cup of water nearby. Dip your thumb in the water, then press straight down into the middle of the dough spiral. Flatten the dough against the bottom and sides of the cup to a thickness of about 1/16 inch. Cut your remaining dough rounds smaller if the test yielded in excess dough. (Note: if you're using the small Portuguese Pasteis de Nata tart tins, make sure you work the dough all the way up to the rim.
  • Fill each cup 80% full with the custard. Bake the pastries until the edges of the dough are frilled and brown, about 15-25 minutes for the muffin tins. If you add too much filling into the shells it can spill over in between the crust and the tin and makes it sticky and hard to get out.
    IMG 0930
  • (Note: after making this recipe a few times I found that the most important thing is to cook the pastry until the shells are a slightly dark golden color. If you do this you have a much better chance of having a crispy shell-which I think is very desirable. After about 10 minutes the custurd filling will be set/cooked {but the shell at this point it's not fully cooked} So I like to continue cooking it until the shell is a dark golden color.
    IMG 0941
  • 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. Optionally, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and cinnamon and serve.



If using the small Pasteis de Nata tins, this recipe will make about 20 servings.
Note:  If this is your first time making these I suggest running a test and only fill 2-3 shells with the custard filling and cooking them as a test.  Cook them until the shell is a dark golden color. Remove them from the oven let them cool off for about 10 minutes then remove them from the tin. Cut in half .  You'll know if you cooked them enough if the shell is crispy throughout.  If the shell is a little soggy/doughy  when you bite into it and not crispy add a few additional minutes to your cook time. 
Note: I believe one of the reasons you often see dark spots on top of Pasteis de Nata, is that in order to get a crispy crunchy crust you need to overcook the custard a little.
Note: I have also found that this recipe works well with just using five egg yolks instead of six, The custard is a little less dense. (either way will work it depends on your preference)
Link to the molds on Amazon
Keyword custard, custard tarts, pasteis de belem, pasteis de nata, Portuguese, Portuguese custard tarts, Portuguese Dessert
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Hello, I'm Michael!

I aspire to share recipes that you and your family can enjoy while also learning about cooking fundamentals along the way. I attended the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, CA and now enjoy cooking as a hobby.

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