Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Miss Popularity - Portuguese Tarts

Variations of these tarts have been around on the internet for ages and the recipe for this version of Portuguese Custard Tarts originally comes from Bill Granger's everyday cookbook.

There's a very good reason why such a large number of cooks and bloggers have written about this recipe - it is easy to make, the custard filling is sweet and rich (but not too rich), and the final result is one of the best Portuguese tarts you'll eat. And considering that comparable tarts at a café can be quite pricey, you can get a dozen tarts from this recipe that will have your friends asking when your new café will open.

So here is my version of the tarts - you'll notice that the tops of this batch are deliberately non-burnt because they were for my mum and she doesn't like eating burnt bits!

Portuguese Custard Tarts
Makes 12


3 egg yolks
115g (¾ cup) caster sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
400ml full cream milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 sheet ready-rolled puff pastry, slightly thawed


1. Put the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a saucepan and stir together. Add the milk and whisk until there are no more lumps.
2. Put the saucepan over medium heat and cook until the mixture thickens and starts to bubble.
3. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. You now have a wonderful custard – but do not eat it just yet.
4. Pour the custard into a bowl and place some cling wrap onto the surface to stop a skin from forming. Leave to cool for about 30 minutes.
5. Lightly grease a 12-hole muffin pan.
6. Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F)
7. Now, prepare the pastry cases: cut the puff pastry in half and place on piece over the other. Roll up the pastry tightly from the short end, like a cigar. Cut the pastry into twelve 1cm (½ inch) pieces. Use a rolling pin to flatten each cut piece of pastry into a circle about 10cm (4 inches) in diameter. The circles should be reasonably thin.
8. Put a circle of pastry into each hole in the muffin pan.
9. Spoon the cooled custard into each pastry case.
10. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden. If you do want some dark bits, turn up the oven to 210°C for the last 5 minutes of baking.
11. Remove from the oven and allow the tarts to cool for 5 minutes in the pan before taking them out to finish cooling on a wire rack.

Whisk the egg yolks, cornflour and sugar;
stir in cream and milk; bring to a simmer; add vanilla

Preparing the pastry cases

Fill the cases with custard;
remove cooked tarts to cool on a wire rack

And here is a shot of my kitchen benchtop while I waited for the custard to cool. Typical Sunday, really:

(Clockwise): Sunday papers (with article on The Sartorialist); thinking about whether to have the levain ficelle (from Victoire bakery) now or later; definitely having Victoire's croissant now (with new Vegemite); forgot to put the eggs away; trying not to have a taste of the cooling custard


  1. These look greaattt! Mmm craving some now! Hmm don't think I can wait for the pastry if the custard is that simple!

  2. Good lawd, I shouldn't have read this at snacking hour! You've def inspired me to try making the tarts for myself :)

  3. These tarts are the best ever! I love making these, the custard is just so gorgeous!

  4. An interesting use of the puff pastry, as you don't keep the integrity of the layers, so I don't think I'll put my newfound puff-pastry-from-scratch skills to use!

    They look absolutely delicious, I applaud your restraint at not devouring the cooling custard. Thanks for the recipe!

  5. I guess avoiding eating the cooling custard would be a little easier with the croissant as consolation!

  6. I've eaten these, but you know I've never mad ea batch myself. I've seen them everywhere, looks like I'm letting all the other bloggers down!

  7. Hehe love your 'sunday morning' shot! The tarts look so good too! I love egg tarts and portugese tarts :D

  8. What a perfect Sunday morning Belle!

  9. I love these tarts! I think they're the most universally loved food! Even my staunch dieter dad will eat them :P

  10. Yum!
    I've been eyeing this recipe since NQN posted it, I think you've sealed the bargain though!
    I'm horrible at waiting for custard to cool though, esp with vanilla in them!

  11. hi FFichiban - yes, the custard is so easy to make and it smells *really* good.

    hi Karen - you must make some. Can't wait to see how wonderful yours will be!

    hi Anita - the tarts look impressive, don't they, considering the simple recipe.

    hi Conor - oh, you are a 'proper' baker, then! The tart pastry is a little puffy, but not much, so best to keep your from-scratch pastry for something more appreciative.

    hi Arwen - hehe, that's what I thought. It was hard, though...

    hi Maria - they are so popular, and have you noticed that everyone's look really good? It's neverfail!

    hi Betty - I've never tried to make egg tarts. The pastry looks pretty difficult, with all those layers. Think I'll leave them for yum cha.

    hi Reemski - it was pretty good. Mmm, croissant...

    hi Lorraine - you must have made dozens by now. Seems like your dad loves them too!

    hi Chris - you must give them a go. Just don't sneak a taste of the custard while you're making them...

  12. Mmm... so yummy! I have made these before too and they worked out well. A bit fiddly with rolling out the dough, but you seem to be an expert! :)

  13. Hehe!! Totally agree with you that this is the kind of recipe that I will do it again and again! So easy, delicious and moreish! like your 'no burn bits' version!

  14. The tarts looks great! I must attempt to make these one day. I love all eggy tarts!

  15. I looooove these! My favorite part is the custard. Do you think I could just make the custard by itself?

  16. Thank for posting such a good recipe and photos, I have to say that the tarts were good but the custard was just amazing and seemed a little wasted on the pastry!

  17. Hi...in the recipe there is no mention of cream but in the photo steps of custard ingredients you mention cream... oh well mine are already in oven and looking great!

  18. hi Anonymous - good point! There is no cream in this version of the recipe because I used all milk. In the original Bill Granger recipe, he uses part milk, part cream.