Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sundays with Joe: Pasteis de nata

My dear baking-loving friend 2B1M and I have decided that we are going to try and bake our way through Joe Pastry, especially since he has all those recipes we've been dying to try, like puff pastry and croissants and eclairs. So, during the week, in all our food porn reading, we decide on something and on Sunday, bake it. This means we can offload it on colleagues on Monday morning and refrain from eating our own weight in butter. (Sorry for the horrible photo it was like 8pm.)

This particular one happened more than a week ago, and then we missed a week because of the Jaipur Lit Fest, and since I am lazy I am finally getting around to posting it.

About 1 1/2 pounds puff pastry dough, which is half the puff pastry recipe
2 cups whole milk
The peel from one lemon
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 ounces (half cup minus 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon) flour
12 ounces (1 and 2/3 cups) sugar
2/3 cup water
7 egg yolks (you can freeze your whites, individually or together, or you can beat the crap out of them and make meringues, which is what I did)

Preheat your oven to 250C.
Start with the filling cos the sugar syrup has to cool. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Cook it to 220 degrees Fahrenheit (which is to say, stick...because um I don't have a candy thermometer), then remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool.
Combine the flour and a few ounces of the milk in a small bowl and whisk until you have a paste. Bring the remaining milk to a boil and add the cinnamon, lemon peel and vanilla. Add the flour mixture, whisk it all together and take the pan off the heat.
When it’s cool, add the syrup to the milk mixture and stir to combine.
Strain everything through a sieve to remove the solids. Here is where it began to go little bit shit because that custard became like 75% lumps. We think it was because by the time the sugar syrup cooled, the custard had cooled too much. We then spent twenty minutes straining it and mashing lumps and hoping the custard would work anyway.
Lastly, whisk in the yolks.
Roll the chilled puff pastry dough out to about 12″ x 12″, cut it in half and put one half back in the refrigerator. Roll the other half very thin, about 1/8″ thick. Cut our your shapes and put them in the moulds. Repeat with the remaining dough and put the lined molds back into the refrigerator to rest. (So I skipped this cos it was like 12 degrees.) Fill each crust about 3/4 of the way full with the custard mixture. Bake until the tarts sport brown spots in the surface, about 20 – 25 minutes.
When done, cool the tarts on a wire rack. Serve the pastéis dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon if desired.

One thing though, figure out what you're baking these in. I did several variations, because my OTG is tiny and could only take 6 and a time and I would have killed someone if I'd had to stand and do the whole lot. You can use a giant muffin tray, or a normal one which is what I did. You can also use nice steel katoris, especially if they have gentle sides and not steep ones. You can also make a custard tart, but if you do, don't do it in a flan ring or the pastry will shrink and then you'll have caramel all over the oven. You'll have to adjust the baking time for the larger sizes--the tart took a good 40 minutes.

No matter how yummy they look, do NOT bite until fully cooled. Tongue. Burn. Lastly, we did the math, they're only about 5 g of butter per tart ;)

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