Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Portuguese Egg Tart 葡撻

A few years ago when I took a trip to Hong Kong, I also had a chance to visit Macau. The infamous Portuguese custard tart was the number one food on my list to try out. My friend in Macau brought me to Lord Stow's Bakery, which is extremely popular with the tart. The multi-layered puff pastry is crispy and the filling is silky and full of egg flavor.

After coming back to Los Angeles, I tried tarts that were made in different local bakeries and restaurants. They were very disappointing and did not come close to the original and authentic ones so I decided to do some research and experiment on my own.

Portuguese custard tart (Pasteis de Nata) is different from Chinese egg tart. It is not an overbaked or "burnt egg tart." Although the crust is similar, the custard is different. Many copycat versions use the same custard in making Chinese egg tart and bake until brown spots appear on the tart and call it Portuguese custard tart. Portuguese custard filling uses heavy cream and milk instead of water, and egg yolk only instead of a whole egg. In addition, some other recipes use cinnamon as a spice. But most important is the addition of corn starch. It is used to stabilize the custard so that it can be baked at a high temperature.

To illustrate my point, below are some pictures I took from a cookbook devoted exclusively to egg tarts:

On page 34 is the recipe for making the custard filling of a regular egg tart: 2 eggs, 30g sugar, 60g milk and 280g water. Bake at 230C/446F for 18 minutes.

And a few pages later is the recipe of the Portuguese egg tart, using the same crust as their egg tart recipe. The custard filling: 2 eggs, 30g sugar, 60g milk, 280g water, 5g cream. Bake at 230C/446F for 18 minutes.

The recipes for both tarts virtually use exactly the same ingredients, oven temperature and baking time!! I really wonder how they will give you two different tarts! Lesson learned: money wasted in buying this kind of lousy cookbook.

Recipe references:  Leitesculinaria.comPortuguesediner.comKitchen Tigress



正宗葡撻有别於 港式酥皮蛋撻, 它不是焗焦了的蛋撻。市面上的葡撻食譜,不外乎是與港式蛋撻無異,但正宗葡撻的蛋漿是用蛋黃、奶油及牛奶,有些更加入肉桂粉,味道比較濃郁,與港式蛋撻的味道與口感都不同。最重要的是加了玉米粉,以致蛋液在高溫下不會焗過熟。

為了讓讀者明白我的論點,我將一個蛋撻的誕生中數頁拍下,當中有蛋撻及葡撻的食譜,(請看上面相片) 細看一下,材料、焗爐溫度及時間,竟然是一樣,真不知道是印刷出錯或是作者馬虎、草率或求其??下次買食譜都要小心選擇。

食譜參考: leitesculinaria.comPortuguesediner.comKitchen Tigress

Ingredients to make a dozen tarts: 做一打葡撻的材料

Puff Pastry: (see notes) 酥皮
185g cake flour 低筋麵粉
96g water 水
1 tsp sugar 糖
¼ tsp salt 鹽
30g unsalted butter, softened 無鹽牛油,室溫

96g unsalted butter, cold 無鹽牛油,雪凍

Custard filling: 蛋液
2 egg yolks 蛋黃
260g whole milk 全脂牛奶
60 heavy cream 奶油
60g sugar 糖
1 tbsp/8g corn starch 玉米粉
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract 雲呢哪香油

To make puff pastry:
1) Put all the puff pastry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix and knead until the dough is smooth, about 5 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
2) Roll out the dough into a big sheet. Place the cold butter block in the center and wrap it up in the dough.
3) Roll out into a rectangle with the longer side towards you. Fold the two sides so that they meet at the middle and fold together again.

4) Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
5) Repeat steps 3 & 4 two more times, for a total of 3 times. 4x4x4=64 layers!
6) Take out the dough and roll out to a rectangular shape of about 3-4 mm thick and 12 inches long. Roll up from the long side into a log and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

7) Cut into 12 equal pieces, about an inch wide. Spray the molds with oil and dusk with flour to prevent sticking.

8) With the cut side up, press each dough piece onto a tart mold. Dip your thumbs on flour to prevent sticking. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or frozen for long term storage.

To make custard filling:
1) Put milk, cream, sugar, yolks and corn starch into a small pot. Stir well.
2) Under medium to low heat, whisk constantly with a whisk or spatula. As soon as the mixture starts to thicken (about 165F), remove from heat.
3) Put the pot in a cold water bath to stop the cooking. Add vanilla extract. Stir well and leave to cool completely. Pass it through a sieve if there are lumps.
5) Preheat oven to 485F. Fill each tart with the custard to about 5 mm from the rim and bake for 30-35 minutes or until brown spots appear on the surface and the bubbling stops. Keep an close eye on them for the last 15 minutes. Serve warm.

1) The process of preparing the puff pastry dough can be stopped and refrigerated overnight until you are ready to resume.
2) To save time, store bought frozen puff pastry is a good option.

1) 將酥皮材料放碗內混合,手搓數分鐘至麵團光滑,蓋上保鮮紙放雪櫃一小時。
2) 麵團從雪櫃取出,捍開一大片,中央放上牛油,用麵團包好。
3) 再搌開成長方形,長的一邊靠身,兩邊向中央對摺,兩邊再重疊。蓋好放雪櫃十五分鐘。
4) 取出後重複以上步驟二次,以致有4x4x4=64層。
5) 將麵團捍開至約三至四亳米厚之長方形,約一尺長。然後在長的一邊卷起,放雪櫃三十分鐘。
6) 將麵團切開十二等份,約一寸厚,模具塗油。
7) 切面向上,放入模具內用手指頭壓平及實,再放雪櫃鬆弛三十分鐘。或雪藏也可。

1) 在小鍋放奶油、牛奶、糖、蛋黃及玉米粉,邊攪邊用中小火加熱,稍微濃稠(約165F)便立刻離火,用冷水坐凍。
2) 加雲呢哪香油,攪勻備用。


1) 在做酥皮的過程,任何放雪櫃的程序也可以加長變放過夜也可。
2) 如想省時及功夫,市面雪藏即用的酥皮也可代替。


  1. Oh Phoebe, you are the best! I'm so grateful you answered my request so quickly and with such an informative intro to your recipe! Can't wait to try the recipe. With the lazy person substitution of store bought puff pastry, it will happen much sooner too ��. Just to double check: the tarts are baked at the high temp of 485 the entire 30-35min.; no need to reduce to a lower temp after pastry is browned. Your tarts look beautiful! Thanks again!

  2. Hi Karen,
    I have been working on the recipe for quite some time. After you line the mold with the puff pastry, either put it back to the fridge or freezer. The tarts need to bake at 485 for the entire 30 minutes to order to cook through. When the bubbling of the custard subsides and the crust starts to brown, then it is time to take them out.
    Good luck and enjoy!

  3. Wow, I really need to pay attention in choosing cookbook, or any recipes from now on. Thanks for the tip.

  4. Hi Phoebe,
    Thank you so much for explaining the secret of Portuguese custard tart.I definitely try it .
    Thnaks again

  5. I made these three times and they always turned out great. Thanks for the recipe!

  6. Thank you for sharing this recipe. Portuguese custard tart is one of my favorites. The recipe looks simply enough for a beginner.