Belem Custard Tarts

This quickly became  my #1 choice for holiday baking. (Actually tasting one tart did it). The picture is BEFORE the sugar topping. Read this through.

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 cups half and half cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp. clear vanilla
  • 1 whole nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  You will need a mini (24) tart pan. Starting from the rolled out pastry, cut into 24 equal circles.  Flatten each circle with a rolling pin to make 3 inch circles.  Grease every cup and carefully fit the pastry in.

Whisk the eggs, cream, sugar and cornstarch in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  With a wooden spoon, stir until it is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from heat.  Whisk in the butter and vanilla. Strain into a clean bowl making sure to set a piece of wax paper directly ON the surface top of the custard.  Chill completely.

Spoon an equal amount of custard into each shell.  Grate the nutmeg lightly over the tarts.  Bake for roughly 15-20 minutes until the pastry is a light golden colour. Now broil for two minutes until the tops get browned. Be very careful not to burn.  Cool for 5 minutes and carefully transfer to a rack.

You are able to do the recipe twice as far as the filling goes.  You will definitely need both sheets of pastry.  There will be enough to spare to make about 5-7 more tarts.

Now, when we were in Portugal, in Belem, these are a most famous pastry and the line ups outside the store attest to this. What I  found was they add a ‘creme brulee’ topping. So – sprinkle sugar on top of the baked tart and, using your baking torch, melt the sugar so you get a light crust on top. Better yet, have these warm. OMG! OMG! are they ever good.

Absolutely a fabulous item to put on the trays or just for your holiday celebrations.


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