Vegan Pastéis de Nata (Portuguese custard tart) is a heavenly secret tart recipe of the 18th-century Portuguese monks. A must-try dessert.
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All the recipes which have an interesting story behind them fascinate me a lot, especially if it’s a secret recipe from history. Today’s recipe – Pastéis de Nata (Portuguese custard tart), is the vegan version of one such recipe from the 18th century and was created by the Catholic monks at the Jerónimos Monastery, Portugal.
To survive the aftermaths of Liberal revolution of 1820 which lead to the closure of many convents and monasteries, the monks started selling Pasteis de Nata at a sugar refinery. When the monastery got closed in 1834, this recipe was sold to the sugar refinery, whose owners later opened Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém, the only bakery in Lisbon which has the original secret recipe of the monks, called Pastel de Belém. In fact, no other bakery in Lisbon is allowed to use this name of the recipe. Pasteis de Nata is a variation, evolved from that original secret recipe of the monks-Pastel de Belém.
So if you are planning a trip to Lisbon, don’t forget to visit Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém and enjoy these secret treats. However, If like me, just eating a new dish doesn’t satisfy you and you also want to learn the actual process of creating that recipe so that you can recreate it in your own kitchen, don’t forget to attend the awesome Vegan Pastel de Nata cooking class conducted by cooking passionate Ana & Gonçalo. The best thing is that their recipe is vegan so anyone can try it.
Though the vegan version looks somewhat different from the original recipe which has egg & dairy in it, trust me the vegan version also tastes heavenly. The combination of a crunchy, flaky crust of tart and soothing warm custard inside can’t be explained in words – you have to try it to experience it.
I have already added attending the cooking class of Ana & Gonçalo in my itinerary of a future trip to beautiful Portugal and would highly recommend you to do the same.
Step by step photo instructions
How to make Vegan Pastéis de Nata (Portuguese custard tart)?
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Making time: 15 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
Serving: Makes around 15 tarts
- Brown sugar: ½ a cup
- Corn flour: 2 tablespoons
- Any plant-based milk like coconut or soya milk: 1 cup
- Any plant-based cream: ½ a cup (I have used coconut cream)
- Ground cinnamon: ½ teaspoon
- Vanilla extract: 4-5 drops
- Peel of 1 lemon
- A pinch of salt
- Vegan puff pastry
- Pre-heat the oven at 250 degrees C
- In a pot put together the brown sugar, corn flour, vegan milk, cream, lemon peel, and ground cinnamon. Cook while stirring continuously. Once the mixture starts boiling let it cook for another minute. Don’t stop stirring. Once done, keep the custard mixture aside
- Spread the puff pastry sheet on a flat surface and make a roll of it. Cut the roll into equal portions
- Place the roll portions in the cups of a nonstick cupcake tray. Using your thumb spread each puff pastry portion to fit in the cup shapes. If you find it difficult to stretch the dough, wet your fingers with cold water and use them to stretch the dough evenly
- Add a pinch of salt to the custard mixture
- Pour the custard up to the ¾ level of each puff pastry cup
- Bake for about 12-14 minutes at 250 degrees C with the fan off
- Unmold the tarts with the help of a spoon and put them on a cooling tray. They taste best when eaten warm
- Close your eyes and enjoy the secret recipe from the 18th-century monks of Portugal