These Air Fryer Portuguese Custard Tarts (Pastel De Nata Recipe) are so simply delicious you’ll be sure to please adults and kids alike! Fry it, to believe it!
Portuguese Custard Tarts (Pasteis de Nata) are light, sweet tarts with a crisp shell, and can be served as a breakfast, a snack with tea, or dusted with cinnamon as a dessert. Basically, they’re good for all times of day.
Traditionally, the shells are made by spreading butter between layers of floury dough to create that ultra-crispy pastry texture.
🤔 Fun Fact: Pastéis de Nata is the plural form of Pastel de Nata. Pastéis stands for ‘pastries,’ while de nata means ‘cream.’ Hence, Pastéis de Nata means cream pastries.
While we admire that effort, we wanted to keep the recipe as simple and approachable as possible by opting for pre-made frozen pastry shells from the grocery store (found easily at Costco, Walmart and most other grocery stores).
That little shortcut doesn’t take away from the simple deliciousness of this pastry, so don’t worry. The only regret you’ll have when you’re done is that you didn’t make more!
Portuguese Egg Tart Ingredients
Here’s what you need to make the world-famous Pastéis de Nata or Macau Egg Tarts.
- Fresh milk (full-fat)
- Heavy cream
- Granulated sugar
- Egg yolks
- Vanilla extract
- Frozen pastry cups
📣 You can find the exact measurements and adjust the number of servings in the recipe card down below.
*Note: We used a combination of heavy cream and full-fat milk to achieve the creamiest texture possible for the custard (worth it, trust us). The custard will still work with lower fat milk, but it won’t be as silky as the one made with the full-fat milk.
ASMR Recipe Video: Pasteis De Nata Recipe
Don’t have time to read? Watch this quick recipe video on making Portuguese Tarts.
*You can find the exact amount of ingredients and adjust the number of servings in the recipe card below.
How to Make Portuguese Custard Tarts in an Air Fryer?
Because you have to cook the custard on its own before adding it to the pre-made tart shells, this recipe is a little lengthier than our usual, super-quick recipes.
Overall, making these pastel de nata will take about 35 minutes, but once you’re eating these delectable pastries, the amount of time it took you to make them won’t even matter.
1. Mix custard ingredients, except for the vanilla.
In a medium, heat-safe bowl, add the custard ingredients: milk, heavy cream, granulated sugar, egg yolks and cornstarch. Whisk to thoroughly combine.
2. Cook the Pasteis de Nata filling.
Prepare a double boiler: In a pot large enough to hold the bottom third of your heat-proof bowl of custard ingredients, add enough water so that the pot is about ⅓ of the way full, ensuring the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl.
Over medium-high heat, bring the pot water to a rolling simmer and then place your bowl of custard ingredients on top of the pot.
Cook the custard, whisking constantly until the mixture has thickened and resembles the texture of loose pudding.
💡Pro Tip: To test your custard consistency, drag a spatula through the middle of the bowl. If the spatula leaves a trail in the custard, it’s ready.
3. Cool down the custard filling.
Prepare an ice bath large enough to fit the custard bowl without totally submerging it. Add the hot bowl of custard to the ice bath and whisk to cool and prevent lumps from forming.
4. Add vanilla.
When the mixture is slightly cooled, add the vanilla extract and whisk to combine.
5. Fill the pastry shells with custard mixture.
Carefully spoon the custard into each of the pastry shells, being sure to leave at least 5-7mm (about ¼ inch) at the top of the shell to allow the custard to puff slightly while cooking without overflowing.
6. Preheat your air fryer to 380°F (193°C) for 5 minutes.
If your air fryer doesn’t have a preheat mode, you can simply set the temperature to 380°F (193°C) and then let it cook for 5 minutes. Doing this step ensures a more accurate cooking time.
7. Air fry Portuguese Custard Tarts for 10-12 minutes at 380°F (193°C).
When the air fryer is preheated, carefully transfer the filled pastry shells to the air fryer basket and air fry until the tops are puffed and golden, about 10-12 minutes.
📝 Note: I used a 6-quart air fryer to bake the Portuguese Custard Cups. Cooking time and temperature may vary depending on your air fryer and the number of servings you are making. For optimal results, begin with the lower end of the suggested cooking time.
8. Serve & enjoy!
Using tongs, carefully remove the pastries to a plate to serve. Dust with a little cinnamon and enjoy!
Serve with mixed berries for a sweet and delicious breakfast, or with a dollop of whipped cream for dessert!
Freezing & Storage
These will last in the refrigerator for at least 3 days but are best eaten fresh while they’re still warm.
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Air Fryer Pastel De Nata FAQs
What are the Portuguese custard tarts called?
Portuguese custard tarts are also called Pastéis de Nata or in its singular form, Pastel de Nata. Some also refer to these cream pastries as Macau Egg Tarts.
How to air fry custard tarts?
To air fry custard tarts set your temperature to 380°F (193°C) and bake it for 10-12 minutes. Follow these steps.
Can you freeze Portuguese custard tarts?
Yes, you can freeze cooked portuguese custard tarts. It will last for up about 3 months in an airtight container.
How many calories are in a Portuguese custard tart?
One Portuguese egg tart may contain 50-60 kilocalories.
Easy Air Fryer Portuguese Custard Tarts (Pastel de Nata)
- 1 cup fresh milk full-fat
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 pieces egg yolks
- 1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 12 pieces frozen pastry shells
- Mix the custard ingredients. Combine milk, cream, sugar, egg yolks, and cornstarch in a bowl. Whisk until smooth and free of lumps.
- Cook the egg tart mixture in a double boiler. First, bring your double boiler to medium-low heat and add the egg mixture. Keep stirring until it reaches the perfect consistency, similar to a crepe batter.
- Cool down custard filling. Once you remove the custard mixture from the heat, immediately place it in a bowl of cold water to prevent further cooking.
- Stir in the vanilla extract and make sure it's well incorporated. Then let the mixture cool down to room temperature.
- Fill the frozen pastry shells with the egg mixture.
- Place six pastel de nata in the air fryer basket and bake at 380°F or 193°C for 10 minutes. Save the other 6 for the second batch.
- Serve and Enjoy!
- If your air fryer doesn’t have a preheat button, you can simply set the temperature to 380°F (193°C) and then let it run for 5 minutes.
- A combination of heavy cream and full-fat milk helps in achieving the creamiest texture possible for the custard.
- You’ll know the batter is ready when the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
- Placing the mixture over a bowl of cold water prevents the custard filling from cooking further. This will help the mixture cool down quickly and maintain your desired texture and consistency.
- Leave a small gap of 5-7mm at the top of the crust while filling with the custard. This will ensure that the mixture has enough room to puff up and create a beautiful golden crust.
- I used a 6-quart air fryer to bake the Portuguese Custard Cups. Cooking time and temperature may vary depending on your air fryer. For optimal results, start with the lower end of the suggested cooking time.
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