One chef, one recipe: Pastéis de Nata (Portuguese Custard Tarts) by Ajesh KA, Pastry Sous Chef, Cidade de Goa

A popular festive favourite of Goa’s Catholic community, Pastéis de Nata is a sinfully delicious Portuguese dessert that is the perfect addition to a lavish Easter spread.
Pasteis de nata or portuguese custard tarts are great with a cup of coffee.
Pasteis de Nata or Portuguese Custard Tarts are great with a cup of coffee.

Pastéis de Nata aka Portuguese Egg Custard Tarts are delicate desserts that trace their origin back to the 13th century, originally made by the monks in the Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon, Portugal. Similar to many other Portuguese-Goan desserts, the recipe provided here is the outcome of excess egg yolks collected from separating the egg whites used in starching clothes. After the Liberal Revolution of 1820, the monks at the Jerónimos Monastery suffered a financial crisis and had to resort to selling desserts to a nearby sugar refinery. Eventually, in 1834, the monastery closed and the recipe was sold to the sugar refinery. A few years later, the refinery owners opened Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém, where to date one can purchase the signature dessert prepared with the original recipe.

Ajesh ka, pastry sous chef, cidade de goa – ihcl seleqtions
Ajesh KA, Pastry Sous Chef, Cidade de Goa – IHCL SeleQtions.

This recipe comes from Ajesh KA, Pastry Sous Chef, Cidade de Goa – IHCL SeleQtions. “If you have been blessed with the opportunity to travel to Portugal, just the thought of Pastéis de Nata is enough to make you feel nostalgic,” says Chef Ajesh, “This decadent dessert is famously recognised for its distinctive caramelised, crème brûlée-like topping. Without a doubt, Pastéis de Nata is Portugal’s favourite dessert. At Cidade de Goa, we have been baking this delicious goodness over the past decade.”

The alfama restaurant at cidade de goa invokes the town square of lisbon.
The Alfama restaurant at Cidade de Goa invokes the town square of Lisbon.

Named after one of Lisbon’s oldest districts, the Alfama restaurant brings Lisbon’s town square to life at Cidade de Goa. Low ceilings, balconies for musicians, descriptive murals and intimate lighting add to the ambience reminiscent of Portuguese-Goan culture. This chef’s speciality restaurant provides a unique balance of the global and the local with its French, Goan and European cuisines taking centre stage. The Pastéis de Nata is the signature dessert here. “Alfama brings to you a slice of Portugal in the heart of Goa. A childhood favourite of mine, I recommend relishing them slightly warmed for the custard to be perfectly smooth and creamy along with a cup of coffee,” says Chef Ajesh.

Pastéis de Nata

Pasteis de nata as they are made at cidade de goa by chef ajesh ka.
Pasteis de Nata as they are made at Cidade de Goa by Chef Ajesh KA.

Ingredients

Pastry cream:

  • 500 ml Milk
  • 7 nos Egg yolk
  • 90 gms Caster sugar
  • 75 gms Cornflour
  • 50 gms Butter
  • 5 ml Vanilla essence

Puff pastry:

  • 500 gms Refined flour
  • 500 gms Butter
  • 5 gms Salt

Method

Pastry cream:

  • Boil milk and add caster sugar.
  • Mix egg yolk and cornflour in a bowl, add in boiling milk and mix well.
  • Add butter and vanilla essence.

Puff pastry:

  • Knead flour and salt together adding 250 ml cold water.
  • Laminate the dough with butter and set to freeze.
  • Sheet the dough to make the tart.
  • Bake the tart until fully done.

Pastéis de Nata:

  • Pipe pastry cream in the tart.
  • Add cinnamon sugar on the top and torch until slightly caramelised.

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