Portugal – Pasteis de Nata

img_6415tOh hi Portugal. Portugal is apparently the oldest nation state in Europe, having had the same fixed borders since 1139. It has the longest bridge in Europe, and produces a lot of cork. It’s also top of my places in the EU to visit list, and home of a multitude of delicious cakes. Including Pasteis de Nata.

This is my second attempt at making puff pastry (see croissants), and I can wholeheartedly say that it’s a hell of a lot easier when it’s not 30+ degrees and you’re fighting a losing battle with melty butter. In fact, the weather this week (-1C) is much better suited to repeated handling and folding of butter encased in dough. Oscar resumed his role as custard watchman, although actually this custard is more straightforward and required far less watching (this is welcomed by me, as an impatient person who hates standing and stirring things for ages).

img_6408tI mistakenly had assumed that the brown on top of these little tarts was made by a blowtorch, a la creme brulee. But actually, it’s caused by having your oven really bloody hot. The recipe I used called for the oven to be at 290C, which my oven doesn’t even go to. So I had to settle for 250C, which was more than hot enough. I assumed they would take a little longer due to the reduction in temperature, and I wasn’t sure what counted as a small/large tart. So I baked the first batch for 15 minutes, and they came out considerably…singed (as illustrated by photos). That said, they are still delicious, and I love them and will make them again and again. Nothing against this project, but I’m quite looking forward to being able to bake more at random after March, to make infinite amounts of pasteis de nata, or anything else I feel like. I’ve got a list going. It’s going to be great. But first, 6.5 more countries, and a whole lot more uncertainty about Brexit.  img_6411t

I’m not going to copy the recipe here, because the recipe I used has great tick boxes so you can tick off ingredients and steps as you go, which is way better than any other recipe layout approach I’ve come across. So you can find them here.

This post is part of a series called ‘Brexit Baking’, where I bake my way around all 28 EU Member States. You can read more about it here.

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