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Pastel de Nata

You can find these delicious little bites all over Portugal, and once you have tasted them beware, as they are addictive. Easy to make, the rich, eggy filling is pure comfort food. Here, we have simplified the recipe by using puff pastry dough for the shell. These are best eaten the day they are made, still warm from the oven.

Small round pastries in various stages of golden to crisp, with yellow custard centers.

Ingredients

  • Flour for dusting
  • 1 lb (454 g) pkg frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 C (237 ml) milk
  • 3 T (28 g) cornstarch
  • 1 C (192 g) sugar
  • 1 tsp (2.5 ml) vanilla extract
  • 6 lg egg yolks

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Lightly grease a 12-compartment muffin tin. Lay out one sheet puff pastry on floured board; cut into six 4½-inch (12-cm) circles; repeat with remaining dough. Place circles in muffin cups, pressing into bottom and sides; set aside. In a small saucepan over medium, cook milk, cornstarch, sugar and vanilla, whisking constantly until mixture thickens; remove from heat. Gradually whisk half of hot milk mixture into egg yolks in a bowl; then add this mixture back into remaining milk in saucepan, whisking constantly. Cook until thickened, about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour into dough-lined cups; bake 20 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and filling lightly browned on top. Cool slightly before removing.

Prep time: 15 minutes. Cook time: 20 minutes. Makes 6 servings.