A Taste Of Macau: Portugese Pasteis De Nata Inspired Egg Tarts Recipe

My father's family is from the former Portuguese colony of Macau and we used to travel there a lot. It is just an hour away from Hong Kong by ferry and it's worth a visit. Macau has been under Portuguese rules more than 4 centuries, it is a truly unique place. Today Macau has become an Asian Las Vegas with many casinos and clubs. But if you look closely,  Portuguese history can still be seen clearly throughout the streets and architecture of Macau... and its unique cuisine.

One of the most famous Macanese foods are the egg tarts.These yummy egg tarts evolved from Pasteis de nata, a traditional Portuguese custard pastry consisting of a creme-brulee-like filling in puff pastry shell. It was created more than 200 years ago and is now a popular pastry in every pastry shop around the world owned by Portuguese descendants.

These tarts were my childhood favorite. When I tasted them again on my last visit to Macau two years ago with my husband, they were even better than I remembered. I have been wanting to recreate this special dessert at home ever since.

If you ever visit Macau, you must go try this wonderful dessert. In the mean time, enjoy this Portuguese egg tart recipe.

Classic Portuguese architecture in Macau

For the custard filling

  • 3/4 cup Milk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Pinch of salt 
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar 

  1. In a saucepan, dissolve sugar in milk. Do not bring this to boil. Add salt,  followed by the beaten eggs. Keep stirring while cooking till the custard coats the spoon. Make sure the pan is NOT TOO HOT, you don't want the eggs to scramble. 
  2. Strain the custard to remove the lemon peel and set it aside to cool.

For Crust
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp water
  1. To make dough, mix the flour, butter, sugar and water; then whip for 8 minutes. Knead it into a dough and  keep in fridge for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 400F and spray muffin pan with baking spray, set aside.
  3. Remove dough from the fridge. Let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes let it soften just enough to roll. On a floured work top, roll the dough out and cut it into 6-8 discs. Fit them into the muffin pan by pressing on bottom and side. Fill each pie crust with  custard mixture. making sure each is about 80% full.
  4. Bake the tarts at 400F for about 25-30 minutes or until the custard turn brown. 
  5. Sprinkle cinnamon powder on the top and let them cool. Enjoy! 
Husband Says: Oh my. Oh my oh my oh my. These are goooood. Loving the cinnamon on top! I'll be honest, I'm actually not a huge fan of Hong Kong style egg tarts. I understand that people love them, but I could just never get into them. THESE on the other hand, are more to my tastes and I think have a wider appeal. Its tart time!
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Write comments
Feisty Tapas
October 3, 2012 at 4:31 PM delete

I grew up in Spain but only 20 minutes from the border with Portugal and I adore pasteis de nata, this evolution is very interesting.

Balvinder Ubi
October 3, 2012 at 7:26 PM delete

They look delicious, My dear!

Anne Regalado
October 4, 2012 at 11:06 PM delete

These look delicious and perfectly baked , Carmen ! I love Portuguese egg tart better that HK dan tat :D Went to Macau last time and had to buy several tarts !

Azlin Bloor
October 26, 2012 at 6:03 AM delete

Looks great, Carmen! Do love the food heritage left by the Portuguese in Asia! This is one of my favourite "bites"!

Senka I
December 10, 2012 at 6:43 AM delete


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