Montreal Portugal connect - Pasteis de NATA style Puff pastry cups

Simplified puff pastry custard tartelette cups offer a delectable balance.
Vanilla, cinnamon and orange are captured in a delicate custard

  ...while enclosed in a flaky and crispy crust.

Pastéis de Nata 
(aka Pastel de Belém)
The Pastéis de Belém, a creamy and flaky custard tartelette is...
certainly one of Portugal's great culinary offering.
It has managed to keep its recipe absolutely secret since 1837...no small deed...
and neither is making over 10,000 of these treats a day.
I only made 12 pastries and yes, slightly time consuming, however well worth the time.
Other than skipping making the dough, I decided, that since I love puff pastry...
why not get the cheating out of the way ;o)
Other small changes to my liking were made within what constitutes...
the original custard that goes into the original Nata.
The blend of aromas combined cinnamon, orange and vanilla...
perfectly within a cream of egg yolks and milk.

Pastéis de nata were created before the 18th century by Catholic monks at the Jerónimos Monastery in the civil parish of Santa Maria de Belém, in Lisbon.  At the time, convents and monasteries used large quantities of egg-whites for starching of clothes, such as nuns' habits. It was quite common for monasteries and convents to use the leftover egg yolks to make cakes and pastries, resulting in the proliferation of sweet pastry recipes throughout the country.

Following the extinction of the religious orders and in the face of the impending closing of many of the convents and monasteries in the aftermath of the Liberal Revolution of 1820, the monks started selling pastéis de nata at a nearby sugar refinery to secure some revenue.  In 1834 the monastery was closed and the recipe was sold to the sugar refinery, whose owners in 1837 opened the Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém.  The descendents own the business to this day.
  Reference of excerpt credit here.

Portuguese custard tartelettes

Portuguese Pasteis de Nata style Puff Pastry tartelette cups
Light, flaky and crispy crust with a lightly sweetened creamy custard...
aromas of: vanilla, cinnamon and orange.

Makes 12 pastries

Printer Version

(American / Metric measures)
.6 xLarge egg yolks
. 3/4 cup (165g) granulated sugar
. 3 Tbsps. (45g) All-Purpose flour
. 2-1/2 cups (750ml) whole 3.25% milk
. half a navel Orange peel,  finely shaved peel
. 1 small Cinnamon stick (Ceylon preferred)
. 1 tsp. (5ml) pure Vanilla extract
. 1 package (450g) 2 sheets Puff pastry sheets

CUSTARD filling: (best made a day ahead)
1. In a small-MEDIUM saucepan, hand whisk the eggs, sugar, and flour until a smooth paste has formed.  Add just a small quantity of milk and whisk to soften the thick paste.   Afterwards, continually whisk in the remaining milk until all is combined.  Add the cinnamon stick and the orange peel.
2. Over MEDIUM-HIGH heat, start whisking the custard gently at first.  Once a very low simmering boil appears, a quicker whisking should take place.   As the mix starts lightly thickening, an evident ribbon trail will follow.  The cream is ready.   Immediately remove the pot away from the heat.  Stir in the Vanilla extract.
3. Transfer the custard into a heat-proof bowl.  Remove the cinnamon stick and orange peels.  Let the custard rest about 30 minutes (whisking in between) before placing a plastic wrap touching the surface.  Place the custard in the refrigerator for a few hours up to overnight is best.
PASTRY -puff pastry:
4. Prepare a muffin pan to be placed onto a baking pan for later.  Set aside.
5. Unroll the Puff pastry sheets.  Place the second sheet at the edge of the shortest end.  Press down lightly to bind them.
6. At the shortest end, start rolling away from you while making sure to keep the ends from rolling outwards.  Basically, lightly press in as you roll.  Slice into 12 even pieces and place each one with the cut side up into each cavity.
7. Gently press in the center of each dough piece and lightly go up the edges with the aid of your thumb.  Careful not to make the bottom too thin.  Refrigerate for about 1 hour.

. Pre-heat the oven to 475F/240C/Gas9    .Position the rack in the center of the oven.
8. Once the oven is ready, remove the custard out of the refrigerator as well as placing the muffin pan onto a baking sheet. 
9. Initially BAKE the puff tarts for an initial 10 minutes.  Then, remove and quickly press and re-shape cavities as best as possible.
10. Fill each cavity with a generous ice-cream scoop full of custard.
11. Place back into the oven to BAKE for an additional 5 minutes.  Last, put the BROIL element on HIGH for 5 minutes or on how much you desire the caramelized look.  NOTE: please watch those tartelettes like a hawk to avoid them from burning.
12. Once removed from the oven, transfer pan onto a cooling rack.  Let it rest at room temperature for about 90 minutes.  Then, gently nudge out the tartelettes with a thin spatula or knife.  Place them onto a paper towel at first and then to a serving platter.
. Serve them at room temperature when they are at their best.  These keep for a few days out on the counter. Enjoy.

Montreal - Portugal connection
Montreal has a significant Portuguese immigrant population who like Italians have dispersed slightly. 
However, many still make Le Plateau their central grounding.

 Portugeuse Montreal festival
...within the Saint-Urbain and Rachel street area
June 10-12, 2016

...and nearby
Parc du Portugal
This charming neighbourhood park was created in 1953 by landscape architect Carlos R. Martinez to honour the city's Portuguese who came to Montreal in search for a new life. 

 It's located in the central area of Le Plateau on Saint Laurent Boulevard near Marie-Anne Street.  

This pastry came from: Pâtisserie Notre-Dame Du Rosaire.  
I served it with sugared pecans and cashews.

Portuguese Pasteis de Nata pastry 
My MONTREAL discoveries.
Here are a few of my favourite places to find the creamy custard tartelette.

The Plateau (central) area
Pâtisserie Notre-Dame Du Rosaire
227 Rachel street East (just W. of Saint-Denis)
(also has a Kiosk in Jean-Talon market)
Ma Poule Mouillée
969 Rachel street East (near Lafontaine Park)

On the 'Main' ... Saint - Laurent street (N. of Rachel)
Pâtisserie Notre Maison
4101, St-Laurent Blvd. (just North of Duluth)
Les Anges Gourmets
4247, St-Laurent Blvd. (just North of Rachel)

Old Port of Montreal area
Cantinho de Lisboa
356, St-Paul street, West (between Saint Pierre and McGill)

Our trip to Portugal was incredibly appreciated through its history and treats like 'nata'.  
However, this country stayed memorable mostly because of its people.  
Always warm, inviting and with loads of character.  
Welcome to Montreal and thanks for sharing your Pasteis de Nata with us.

Looking forward to sharing many more Montreal connection moments with you.
Have a great week everyone and flavourful wishes.

Flavourful wishes,

Comments ... ??? ... or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at:  foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com

Go HERE for more SWEET creations.

Please take note on how I bake and cook...
Here’s a 101 of sorts to make sure that there are no disappointments when trying my creations.  
Also...just so you know...feel free to increase the salt and sweet factor since I'm not high on either of them ;o)

. Use DRY cup measurements for...you guessed it...all DRY ingredients.
Anything DRY gets measured by spooning the overfilled ingredient (never shake the cup) and then level off with a flat edged tool.  Exception...Brown sugar should be packed in and leveled.
. Use LIQUID cup measurements for...all LIQUIDS that cannot be leveled like for example butter, yogurt...etc.  Measure the liquids at eye level to avoid overdoing what the recipe truly needs.
OVENS are unfortunately not created equal.  Mine is so old that it has reached many degrees off it's norm.  It's really worth investing a few dollars to test yours with an appropriate oven thermometer.  You'd be surprised how many ovens I've heard about not being where they should have been.  Before you lose any more ingredients and much time preparing a new recipe...run to the store...you'll thank me later.