food, Recipes

Pastéis de nata

Styling Leana Schoeman; Photographs Graeme Wyllie; Recipes and food production Bazil Stander



PASTÉIS DE NATA WITH CHOCOLATE GANACHE AND CARAMELISED ALMOND BLITZ

For the pastéis de nata

  • 3T plain flour
  • 310ml milk
  • 265g granulated sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 150ml water
  • seeds of half a vanilla pod
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1x 375g roll puff pastry

Whisk the flour with a quarter cup of the milk until smooth, then set aside. Combine the sugar, cinnamon, lemon zest and water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved. Do not allow the sugar mixture to boil for too long or it will be too thick. Remove from the heat and strain.

In a separate saucepan, bring the remaining milk to the boil. Immediately remove it from the heat and whisk it into the flour paste until smooth. Slowly pour the sugar syrup into the milk paste, whisking vigorously. Add the vanilla seeds and stir well. Temper the egg yolks by adding a little of the warm mixture and whisking through. Add the egg yolks to the flour and sugar-syrup mixture, whisking to combine, then strain the custard into a jug, cover with clingfilm and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 220ºC, heat a baking sheet on one of the shelves, and butter a 12-hole muffin tray. Lightly dust a work surface with flour and a little icing sugar, and roll the puff pastry out into a large rectangle. Cut the rectangle in half and lay one sheet on top of the other. Roll the doubled layer up like a Swiss roll and cut 12 slices that are 1–2cm thick. Roll each slice out into a 10cm diameter disc, and press each one into a hole in the muffin tray. Pour the custard into the pastry cases, filling each one about three quarters full. Bake the tarts on the preheated baking tray for 20 minutes or until the custard has puffed and is pale golden brown. Leave them to cool in the tin.

For the chocolate ganache

  • 300g dark chocolate
  • 1 cup cream

Break the chocolate into a large bowl. Scald the cream in a saucepan, then remove it immediately. Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is glossy. Let it cool slightly before pouring the ganache over the tarts.

For the caramelised almond blitz

  • 200g sugar
  • 100g whole roasted almonds
  • 1/2t salt

Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside. Place the sugar and a quarter cup of water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Swirl the saucepan to dissolve the sugar but do not stir. Brush the insides of the saucepan with water to prevent sugar crystals forming.

Simmer for about seven minutes, until the sugar turns a light amber colour. Add the almonds and salt, stirring constantly until the almonds are toasted and the caramel is a dark amber colour. Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and leave it to cool completely. Break the brittle into shards and transfer the pieces to a food processor. Pulse the brittle until finely ground, leaving a few larger shards intact.

Brush each serving plate with any leftover ganache and serve the pastéis de nata with a liberal sprinkling of the almond blitz, a scoop of good-quality vanilla ice cream and warm chai tea. Makes 12

This recipe originally featured in the August 2013 issue of House and Leisure.