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.


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?


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.


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?