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mini egg custard tartlets inspired by my trip to Lisbon


 Three years ago we traveled to Portugal 🇵🇹 we played golf, toured around and discovered a place to visit that we loved.  We tried the Portuguese egg tarts, pasteis de nata, a speciality in Portugal that people line up to order warm from the oven.  So, we joined in a long line and came away with the most wonderful  cinnamon flavored egg custard tartlets.  They were just perfect with the take out coffee from a famous pastry shop, creating a delicious picnic of pastries and coffee for ourselves to carry away and enjoy on a nearby park bench.  I've been wanting to recreate mini egg custard tarts like the ones we enjoyed in Lisbon.  However, it turns out they have an oven that they bake their tarts in at around 800F, that's what I read.  It must be a quick trip for those little tarts through that extremely hot oven.  That piece of information didn't deter me from baking my tartlets at 500F in my own oven at home.  The tartlets are best warm from the oven but not bad either served later in the day.  Most of the recipes I read online called for making your own pastry or crust in this case, for your tartlets.  But, I found one recipe in the NYT that called for store bought all-butter puff pastry, I was all over that one, which I gently adapted.  I think it's a genius idea that makes these wonderful egg custard tartlets go much faster to create for yourself, friends and family.

Ingredients and Recipe for Mini Egg Custard Tartlets 
Makes 48 tarts

16 ounces all-butter puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator- if frozen
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup plus 1 tablespoons whole milk
5 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 cup all purpose flour
6 large egg yolks
Ground cinnamon for sprinkling
Confectioners sugar for sprinkling

On a lightly floured surface or a non-stick silicone pastry mat, roll the puff pastry into an 18" square.
Starting with the edge closest to you begin carefully tightly rolling the dough into a log.
Wrap in plastic, cut log in half if you need to fit into your refrigerator.
Refrigerator for an hour or overnight.
Heat the oven to 500F.  Place a pizza stone or cookie sheet on the center rack while the oven heats.
In a medium saucepan combine the sugar, cinnamon stick and 2/3 cup water.  Bring to boil and cook for one minute, turn off the heat and set aside.
Bring the puff pastry logs out of the refrigerator, remove the plastic wrap and cut into 1/2 inch slices, using a long piece of thin dental floss that you can loop around the dough and gently pull to make clean slices.
Using a rolling pin, roll each slice into a 2&1/2" circle.  Place the pastry rounds into a 24-mini muffin tin.  Press to evenly flatten the dough against the bottom and sides of the cavities in the tin. ( I used one heavy  24 mini muffin tin baked in the center of the oven, then repeated with the rest of the dough and filling)
Refrigerate pastry until firm, at least 10 minutes.
While the dough chills, finish the custard filling.  In a medium saucepan heat the 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon  of milk until it comes to the boil, remove from the heat.
In a large bowl whisk the flour with the 5 tablespoons of milk until smooth.
Continue whisking while pouring in the hot milk in a slow steady stream.
Toss the cinnamon stick from the sugar syrup and whisk the syrup into the milk mixture in a steady stream.  Return to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, occasionally run a rubber spatula around the sides of the saucepan to loosen any thicker milk that might form.  The milk mixture will completely thicken in 5-10 minutes.
Place the egg yolks in a large bowl and whisking constantly, slowly pour in the hot milk.  Whisk until eggs are fully incorporated.  Strain through a fine sieve.
Pour the filling into the pastry shells until they're 3/4 full.
Place the tarts in the mini muffin tin on the hot cookie sheets in the oven.
Bake until the tartlets are puffy and brown in spots on the tops and the pastry is crisp, about 16-17 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes, then turn the tartlets our to continue cooling.
Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and confectioners sugar, serve warm.



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