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The Bake Off Bake Along: Portuguese Custard Tarts (Pastéis de Nata)

Whoa, that’s a long blog post title. On the plus side, I have had to write out the phrase ‘Portuguese Custard Tarts’ so many times this week that I can finally spell Portuguese without second-guessing myself. Thank goodness for the bake off bake along, eh? I (along with the nation, I imagine) was really sad to see Julia go this week. She was so awesome and, although I admit she had a bad week, I didn’t think it was going to be her in for the chop. Even though we’re well into the competition now, I still wouldn’t like to place bets on who is going to win. I quite like that there doesn’t seem to be an obvious front-runner anymore.

Is it just me, or does ‘make four separate but thematically connected savoury pies elaborately decorated with intricate shortcrust pastry designs’ seem more like a showstopper than a signature challenge? I mean, what? And although the the showstopper itself was right up my alley, I couldn’t quite find the time this week. I had a very busy weekend so, as usual, I was planning to take the path of least resistance with the bake off bake along. Which seemed like it would be the technical challenge. I know, I’m a fool.

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I realise I sound very lazy in these posts. Don’t get me wrong, I am joining in… I’m just not making the maximum level of effort. I even (whisper it) bought my puff pastry this week instead of making it myself. I know. But, in fairness, I was planning to make it myself, until I looked up recipes for Portuguese Custard Tarts, and every one of them included some variation on the words ‘unwrap your package of pastry, roll it out…’. Who am I to argue?

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And the recipe?

I am not going to recreate the recipe here, because I didn’t change it at all. It would seem a bit disingenuous to put it on my own blog. I worked from this. Portuguese Custard Tarts didn’t really seem like the kind of thing you can mess around with to add your own individual twist. Also, I had no idea what I was doing.

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By the way, these are actually quite difficult. I thought this would be pretty simple (I mean, I’ve made regular custard tarts! They were fine!), but they were a bit of a nightmare. Maybe it was the recipe I was working from, but this was the faffiest custard I have ever made. Also, perhaps you just need to have a very particular type of oven, but mine didn’t bake up quite as they were supposed to. I didn’t get the perfect blistered dark spots on the top of the custard. I wish I had a blowtorch. My pastry was right on the edge of burning, though, so I couldn’t leave the tarts in the oven for longer in the hope of getting that caramelised top.

Anyway. I’m feeling a bit ‘meh’ about this week. Not my favourite bake along ever, by any means. Still, next week is Italian week, so how bad could that really be?

14 thoughts on “The Bake Off Bake Along: Portuguese Custard Tarts (Pastéis de Nata)

  1. Alice

    I am *shocked* you don’t have a chef’s blowtorch! Your husband’s got the perfect opportunity for a stocking filler right there! I am equally surprised that I found it a relaxing and reasonably simple bake this week. Just shows what differences a recipe can make – mine literally just required mixing egg yolks, cornflour and sugar in a pan, then adding in dash by dash of full fat milk until smooth and heating until thick and custardy. I’m going to have to see what a faff your recipe suggested! My custard also ballooned and domed whilst it was in the oven – hence caramelising the top before the pastry and then sunk back down once it was taken out. Alice xxx

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    • Hannah

      I have a very very small kitchen, so I’m quite precious about only letting essential bits of kit in! Sounds like you had a standard custard recipe – mine involved making sugar syrup, which seemed like an unnecessary hassle, but I couldn’t be bothered to engineer an alternative xxx

  2. Kathryn

    Oh I totally agree with you about the spelling thing, after this I finally feel like I can confidently spell Portuguese too without checking it twice! These looks great! Yeah, I had the same issue with mine that they didn’t get those dark spots, I blame household ovens! But I bet they still tasted good 🙂 x

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