Spiced pastéis de nata

Rich, spicy, creamy custard nestled in shatteringly crispy and buttery puff pastry.

Less than 45 minutes      (+chilling time) 

Makes 16                                                              


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  • 2 rolls (400g each) puff pastry, defrosted 
  • Flour, for dusting 
  • ⅓ cup (80g) butter, melted 
  • ¼ cup (60ml) demerara or brown sugar 


  • ¾ cups (185ml) milk  
  • ¼ cup (30g) cornflour 
  • ⅔ cups (160ml) water 
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar 
  • 1 cinnamon stick 
  • 3 cardamom pods 
  • 1 star anise 
  • 1 tsp (5ml) vanilla essence or extract 
  • ½ cup (125ml) cream 
  • 6 egg yolks 



  1. Prepare two 12-hole muffin tins by greasing with non-stick spray. 
  2. Roll out each sheet of pastry on a floured surface to about 5mm thick. 
  3. Brush with butter and sprinkle with sugar. 
  4. Roll each sheet of pastry up into a log (starting at the short end).  
  5. Cut each log into 8 equal portions. 
  6. Place pastry portions cut side up into muffin tins and flatten so that it fills the muffin holes (make sure it goes up the sides to form a tart case). You will have 16 filled muffin holes. 
  7. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 
  8. Combine ¼ cup (60ml) milk and cornflour in a bowl. 
  9. Add water, sugar and spices to a pot and simmer for 5-8 minutes to make a syrup. 
  10. Remove from heat and infuse for another 10 minutes. 
  11. Slowly whisk syrup into cornflour-milk mixture. 
  12. Bring vanilla, cream and ½ cup (125ml) milk to a simmer over medium heat. 
  13. Place egg yolks in a bowl and add warm cream mixture in a thin stream while whisking. 
  14. Whisk in syrup-milk-cornflour mixture, then leave to cool.  
  15. Strain custard to remove spices and pour into prepared pastry cases. 
  16. Preheat oven to 280°C and place two flat baking trays (which the muffin tins will fit onto) into oven to warm up. 
  17. Place filled muffin tins on the preheated trays and bake for 10 minutes on the middle rack until pastry is puffed and starting to turn golden.   
  18. Move oven rack to top shelf and bake for 4-6 minutes, until custard is starting to char.   
  19. Remove from oven and cool slightly before turning pastéis out onto a wire rack.  
  20. Serve warm. 

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