Pasteis de Nata and Port: The Special Treat of Lisbon

There are many different styles of Port, that sweet elixir for which Portugal has gained a worldwide reputation.

The most popular include:

* Vintage

* Late Bottled Vintage (a.k.a. LBV)

* Ruby

* Tawny

* White

When visiting Lisbon, it’s nearly impossible to walk more than a few blocks without encountering a small bar with a handful of cocktail tables that the locals share during their work breaks.

There, they will indulge in small glasses of Port, accompanied by scrumptious custard tarts known as Pasteis de Nata.

It’s such a simple treat, yet the pairing of the Port — any style will do — and the tart is a match made in culinary heaven. No visit to Lisbon is complete without it. (Kind of like visiting New Orleans without indulging in a beignet.)

For an authentic taste of Portugal in the comfort of your own home, use the recipe below to bake a batch of Pasteis de Nata, open a bottle of Port, and put on some fado music. (Several “Best of” compilations of Portugal’s signature music can be found online.)

At a time when international travel is limited, an authentic taste of Portugal makes for a great stay-at-home escape.

PASTEIS DE NATA

This recipe yields about a dozen of these sweet treats.

Ingredients

* 8½ oz. milk

* Zest of 1 lemon

* 1 cinnamon stick

* 3½ oz. sugar

* 2 T flour

* 2½ oz. water

* Yolks (only) of 3 eggs

* 11¼ oz. all-butter puff pastry

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.

2. Gently heat milk with 3 strips of lemon zest and cinnamon stick until mixture is simmering. Then remove lemon zest and cinnamon.

3. Mix flour with some of the milk to form a smooth paste, and stir in the remaining milk. Heat, whisking regularly, until thick (about 2-3 minutes).

4. Place sugar and water in a saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved.

4. Bring to a boil for about 3 minutes, then whisk into milk mixture.

5. Place egg yolks in a bowl, and slowly add the milk mixture, whisking constantly. Transfer to a jug and allow to start cooling.

6. Lightly butter all the wells in a 12-well muffin tin.

7. Roll out the pastry dough and cut into 12 disks.

8. Place one disk flat into the base of each muffin well.

9. Wet thumbs, and gently press out until the pastry comes about halfway up each well.

10. Pour custard into the pastry cases.

11. Bake for about 15 minutes or until set and caramelized.

12. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

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Posted in Food and Wine Pairings/Recipes, Our Wine Travel Log

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