Pastel de nata

Pastel de nata, also known as pastel de Belém, is a Portuguese egg custard tart pastry, dusted with cinnamon . It’s a delicious and popular dessert, not just in Portugal but also in other parts of the world, particularly other Western European countries, Asia, and former Portuguese colonies like Brazil, Mozambique, Macau, Goa, and East Timor.

The name “pastel de nata” translates to “cream pastry” in Portuguese, while “pastel de Belém” translates to “pastry of Bethlehem,” referring to the Lisbon district of Belém where it is believed to have originated.

There are two main ways to approach making Pastel de Nata: from scratch with puff pastry dough, or using store-bought puff pastry dough. Here’s a breakdown of both methods:

Pastel de Nata with Puff Pastry Dough:

This method involves making the dough from scratch. It requires a bit more time and effort, but gives you complete control over the ingredients. You can find a detailed recipe with ingredient quantities and instructions by searching online for “Pastel de Nata recipe with puff pastry dough”.

Pastel de Nata with Store-bought Puff Pastry Dough:

This is a quicker and easier option. Here’s a basic ingredient list:

  • Puff pastry dough (one package, thawed according to package instructions)
  • Milk (300 ml)
  • Water (150 ml, for sugar syrup)
  • Sugar (300g – divided into 150g for custard and 150g for syrup)
  • Eggs (4 yolks)
  • Lemon (zest of ½ lemon)
  • Cinnamon (1 teaspoon or 1 cinnamon stick)
  • Flour (around 2 tablespoons for the custard)

Here’s a general recipe outline:

  1. Make the custard: Heat milk, cinnamon, and lemon zest in a saucepan. In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, and egg yolks. Slowly whisk the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Strain the custard into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface (to prevent a skin from forming).
  2. Prepare the puff pastry: Preheat oven to a high temperature (around 240-260 degrees Celsius). Roll out the puff pastry dough and cut into circles slightly larger than your tart molds. Press the dough into the molds, making sure to push it into the corners and up the sides.
  3. Assemble and bake: Fill each pastry cup with the cooled custard. You can bake the pastries from scratch following your chosen recipe’s puff pastry dough instructions, or simply bake according to store-bought puff pastry dough recommendations. Typically, baking time is around 12-15 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and the custard is set.
  4. Finishing touches: Once baked, let the Pastel de Nata cool slightly before dusting with cinnamon and serving.


  • For a richer custard flavor, you can use heavy cream instead of milk.
  • If you don’t have cinnamon sticks, you can use ground cinnamon instead.
  • Make sure the custard is completely cool before filling the pastry shells, otherwise the pastry will become soggy.
  • Don’t overfill the pastry shells, as the custard will rise slightly during baking.