Monday, February 1, 2010

Natas (Portuguese Cream Pastries)

Niall asked me to make Natas, the Portuguese pastries we get every once in a while. So, I gave it a try. It's kind of sad that I don't already know how to make these pastries, since I lived in Portugal for three months. And the whole time I was there I collected recipes. It's not like I don't have about a dozen recipes that call for natas (cream, also satan spelled backwards). But none for Natas! I saw these little puff pastries filled with custard everywhere. I guess I took them for granted and never learned to make them. Almost every recipe I found for them referenced Bill Granger's recipe, so I used it as a guide. Makes 12 muffin-sized pastries.


3 egg yolks
1/2 cups (115 g or 4 oz) granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch (cornflour)
Just under 1 cup (230 ml or 7 3/4 fl oz ) cream (I used single cream, which is like half and half)
2/3 cup (170 ml or 5 1/2 fl oz) milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 sheet ready-rolled puff pastry

First make the custard. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch together in a saucepan. It ends up being pretty lumpy.

Then pour in the cream and milk and whisk some more. Turn the heat to medium and keep stirring until the custard boils and starts to thicken.

Continue stirring to avoid lumps or scalding. Once the custard has boiled and thickened, remove from heat and add the vanilla.

Pour into a separate container and put saran wrap on top to prevent a film from forming. Refrigerate for a few hours.

For the pastry, I bought it frozen from the grocery store. Remember how I'm bad at taking pictures? Well, these turned out a funky color. I did try to enhance them, but no luck. I promise the dough looked more appetizing. Anyway, preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C) and flour your surface. Grease your muffin pan (I used a regular sized one.)

Cut the pastry sheet in half and put one half on top of the other. Roll up the pastry from the short end and divide into 12 equal parts.

Cut the dough and roll each piece (on the floured surface) out until it's large enough to fit into the muffin tin (recipes says about 10 cm, whatever that means.)

Press the pastry into the muffin tin so it fills each hole.

Get the custard from the fridge (mine was still a little warm when I used it) and spoon it equally among the 12 pastries. I thought I didn't have enough custard because it didn't fill that much of the pastry, but the custard ended up expanding in the oven and worked out fine.

Bake the pastries for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are golden. (I baked for 25 minutes and would have liked the custard browned even more.) Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about five minutes.

Remove from the tin (the puff pastry is mostly butter so they should come out fine) and serve. I've always had Natas at room temperature, but they were good warm. I really liked the custard, the puff pastry was only okay. It may have been the brand? I'm no puff pastry expert.


AM said...

I love satan spelled backwards!

lovely lady lessy. said...

My friend sent me a recipe for these when he was on his mission in Portugal, but he didn't ever tell me how much flour to use, so I never got to try them. So I'm glad you posted these!