Pastel de nata has started to be mentioned more often than other desserts lately. It is of Portuguese origin. I am sure that those who have visited Portugal before know very well. You may also know it as Pasteis as Belem. Although both are visually the same, they are a little bit different. Pasteis de Belem is the original, the mother of pastel de nata.
History of Pasteis de Belem
In the 1820s, all monasteries begin to be closed in Portugal and the clergy and workers who remained in the monasteries become unemployed. Jerónimos Monastery starts making a dessert (pasteis de belem) and selling it at the sugar factory in the town of Belem in order to create a source of income for its survival. In 1934 the monastery closes and the recipe of the dessert is sold to the factory. In 1937, owners of the factory set up the pasteis de belem factory.
Difference Between Pastel de Nata and Pasteis de Belem
A single brand has been producing pasteis de belem with a single recipe that has not changed since then. The recipes other than this are called pastel de nata, because it can never be the same in taste and consistency (and probably because of the copyright). Pasteis de belem is a really delicious dessert with its crispy (even crunchy) dough and velvety filling.
Imitating the stuffing is not a problem, but the dough is another thing. Although almost everyone who shares the recipe makes their dough out of puff pastry, I am sure it will be much better to use a crispy homemade dough than ready-made puff pastry, but this is a “is it worth it?” situation. It is not possible to keep it for a long time after preparing it. The sooner it is served, the better not to lose its freshness. Even though Baklava is also a labor-intensive dessert, it can be stored for days, for example. Since it is not wise to roll and fold the dough for 10 hours for a dessert that needs to be eaten right away, I decided that the best option is to eat store bought pastel de nata, and the second best option is to settle for the consistency of store bought puff pastry.
Which Mold Should Be Used?
The most suitable mold for the recipe is metal muffin molds in the form of single or tray. Since they are hard, it will be easy to place the dough into them. Otherwise, the closest alternative is silicone molds, but paper or cardboard molds are not suitable for this recipe.
As I mentioned above, dessert is not suitable for waiting, it should be served on the day it is prepared. It will soften as you wait, which will prevent it from being enjoyed as much as fresh.
Enjoy the recipe…
- 32 * 26 cm size puff pastry,
- 2.5 cups of milk,
- 4 tablespoons of sugar,
- 3 egg yolks,
- 1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch),
- 1 piece of lemon peel,
- 1 piece of orange peel,
- 1 cinnamon stick,
- Cinnamon powder for topping.
- For pudding filling take the milk, orange peel, lemon peel and cinnamon stick into a sauce pan,
- Heat until it starts to boil over medium heat,
- Take the fruit peels and cinnamon out of the milk,
- Beat the egg yolks, cornflour and sugar in a separate bowl,
- Pour the boiling milk into this mixture in a thin strip and whisk it quickly, put the mixture back into the sauce pan,
- Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until set and remove from heat,
- Strain into another bowl with a strainer,
- Wait until it cools, stirring frequently, so as not to crust over,
- After cooling, run the oven at the highest temperature setting (250-270 C degree) and start heating,
- Wrap the puff pastry from the narrow edge in a roll and cut it into 10 equal pieces,
- Straighten each piece by pressing it with your hand on the coiled face (spiral shaped part), then roll into a 12 cm round dough with a roller pin,
- Place the dough pieces you obtained into a metal muffin tray you greased one by one,
- Share the pudding in the middle,
- Cook on the lower shelf of the oven until the edges are lightly browned,
- Then place it on the top shelf of the oven, set the oven to the grill setting and bake until the tops burn part by part,
- You can serve them warm or cold by sprinkling cinnamon over.