There’s just under one month to go until my 30th birthday (dreading it) so to make it a little bit more bearable I’m going to be sharing some of my favourite recipes from my childhood up til now (some have already been posted of course). The first one up is a recipe that I created with my cousin Sophie who studied in Portugal for a couple of months. I had the pleasure of visiting her and one of the places she took me to, was Belém, THE place to try Portugal’s most famous pastry: pastel de Belém.
Back in Belgium after her studies, we decided to try and make them ourselves, and came up with a fantastic recipe. There are quite a lot of pitfalls in this recipe though, the biggest one being the pastry. The best thing to use, is all butter puff pastry, which is different than normal puff pastry. I unfortunately bought the wrong pastry, now flavour wise it was still delicious, but when it comes to texture the butter pastry is much nicer. The second pitfall is the heat of the oven, which should ideally be 270° with top and bottom of the oven heating up and not a fan oven. Now I myself don’t have an oven like that in the house I’m renting, so I had to settle for 230°C and a fan oven, but the result was still great though.
They aren’t as shiny looking as the real thing, but when it comes to flavour they are just spectacular.
Now that being said, I still adore these little tarts, although it had been a while since I made them. But more importantly I still remember the fun we had making our recipe (and the mess we made in the kitchen, sorry mom!)
Makes: about 18 pastries
- 500g butter puff pastry**, preferably a rectangle, not a circle
- 8 egg yolks
- 400ml fresh cream
- 100g sugar
- 10g vanilla sugar
- 1 tablespoon of cornflour
- peel of half a lemon
- Optional: cinnamon
** I used normal puff pastry and I do find there is a big difference, so if you have the option of going for butter puff pastry go for it for sure
Needed: cupcake/muffin tin
Preheat your oven to 270°C, if your oven doesn’t go that high, go for the highest possible option
First up is the custard! Beat egg yolks, then add cream, sugar, vanilla sugar and lemon peel. Place in a pot and bring to a boil. The second you start seeing little bubbles, remove from heat and mix in the corn flour, try to avoid getting lumps so if you have an electric mixer I highly recommend using it. Let it cool down while we make our pastry cases.
Now let’s move on to the pastry! Put the pastry with the long side horizontally, then slice 10cm wide strips from top to bottom. Slice each strip in height in half (so still 10cm wide, but just half as long). Roll up each slice, then flatten from the top of your roll down. This will help generate extra layers inside the pastry. Then place in a buttered up muffin tin and stretch out so it covers the side. Try to avoid having a base that’s too thick, as it’ll be unpleasant to eat.
Remove the lemon peel from the custard filling and pour it into your cases and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Keep an eye on it so if doesn’t burn!
Sprinkle some cinnamon on top, the smell and flavour combination with the custard tart is heavenly!