Bake Off 2017: how to make Portuguese custard tarts

Find out everything you need to know about Paul Hollywood's technical challenge, the 'Pastéis de Nata', including recipes and baking history

Portuguese Custard Tart recipe

Finally, a Bake Off technical challenge that we might actually be able to make! Seeing the bakers making Portuguese custard tarts during The Great British Bake Off’s Pastry Week had us scrambling for a recipe, and there are plenty to choose from.

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Find out how to make Pastéis de Nata at home using one of these recipes, and discover more about where the sweet treat comes from below.

Where does the original Pastéis de Nata recipe come from?

As Sandi Toksvig discovers in this week’s ‘history bit’, the Portuguese custard tart was originally created by monks in a monastery in the district of Belém.

The story goes that following the closure of the monasteries in Portugal in 1834, a monk from the Heironymite Monastery began selling these sweet treats.

Pasteis de Nata (Getty)
Bakers line the moulds with the pastry for the custard tarts at the Pastéis de Belém

In 1837, the bakery claiming to be the original home of the tarts was established, the ‘Pastéis de Belém’. The recipe is a closely guarded secret, passed on by each generation of master confectioners. You can however visit the bakery and factory – find out more on their website.

Pasteis de Nata (Getty)
The Pastéis de Belém are left to cool slightly after coming out of the oven

Are there any Portuguese custard tart recipes online?

Even though the original recipe is a secret, there are lots of recipes to help you if you fancy trying to be a Star Baker at home.

Perhaps the easiest one to follow is the step-by-step recipe guide from Olive Magazine. Unlike Paul Hollywood’s rough puff pastry technical challenge, Olive uses shop-bought puff pastry (shock horror), which means you can focus on getting the custard filling just the right side of oozing. Find the recipe here.

If you want to be more ambitious, Portuguese American author David Leite has a recipe on his website which makes the pastry from scratch. The recipe has been slightly tweaked to work with home ovens, which never reach the temperatures of professional ovens. Find the recipe on Leite’s Culinaria here.

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Finally, Jamie Oliver’s effort on YouTube may not exactly be ‘authentic’ Pastéis de Nata, but if you want a quick and easy pudding you could almost whip these up before Bake Off is finished…