Ever since I returned from my holiday to Lisbon, I’ve been raving about Portugal’s culinary national treasure; Pasteis de Nata (translated as Portuguese Custard Tarts in English). If you’ve never tried them before, take my word for it – they are absolutely dreamy. I could talk forever and a day about these but they’re basically a flaky, crispy golden pastry filled with sweet creamy vanilla custard, and then usually topped with a sprinkle of icing sugar and cinnamon.
Despite Lisbon having a diverse large range of vegan and veggie eateries, I didn’t manage to find any Vegan Portuguese Custard Tarts whilst I was out there, so naturally I attempted to make them once I returned home!
I can confirm – my attempt to “veganise” these classic treats was successful! I have to admit, I would still need to work on this vegan Portuguese custard tart recipe to make them real contenders to the originals from the Pastéis de Belém bakery I visited in Portugal – but they are still so tasty none the less!
This recipe includes normal ingredients that are just accidentally vegan – who knew Jus Rol puff pastry and Bird’s Custard were vegan? These vegan Portuguese custard tarts are simple to make and take less than 30 minutes to cook.
These dairy-free custard tarts are simple to make | image/Basil & Vogue
Make sure the custard has completely cooled before pouring into the pastry.
For a more 'authentic' look you could add a drop of yellow food colouring/or a TINY BIT of turmeric (just for colour not for taste) to the custard to make them look more 'eggy' but that's completely up to you!
1 pack of Jus-Rol Read Rolled Puff Pastry
2 tbsp Bird's custard powder
1 tbsp icing sugar
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
450 ml milk alternative I used almond milk
2 tsp cornflour
1 tsp cinnamon
Sunflower oil for greasing
Preheat oven to 200C
Mix the custard powder and sugar in a bowl then add around 3 tbsp (of the 450ml) almond milk to form a paste.
Heat the remaining milk in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Just before it start to boil, pour the milk in the bowl containing the custard powder and sugar, stir well until smooth
Pour the mixture back in the saucepan over a low heat.
Put the cornflour in a small cup and a few drops of water to form a thick paste
Pour the cornflour paste in the pan and allow the mixture to thicken whilst stirring continuously.
Pour the custard in a bowl, and once cooled slightly, leave in the fridge to cool completely
Grease a muffin tin with oil
Roll out the pastry so its flat, then tightly roll in the long side again. Cut into halves and then divide the halves again. Finally cut each into thirds (to get 12 small rolls).
Vegan portuguese custard tarts
Stand each roll up and flatten them by pressing on the top with your fingers/palm.
Add them to a muffin tin and push up on the sides so you get little baskets.
Sprinkle a little cinnamon on them
Once the custard has completely cooled, take it out from the fridge and pour it in the pastry baskets to fill them (it might look really thick but it's ok as it will melt in the oven)
Vegan portuguese custard tarts
Bake in the oven for 20 mins
Once cooled completely sieve some icing sugar and sprinkle over the top of them along with some cinnamon
Looking for more recipes like this? Get creative in the kitchen with this vegan Norwegian pastry recipe. The buns are stuffed with dairy-free coconut whipped cream and marzipan, and are dusted with confectioners’ sugar.
To further satisfy your sweet tooth, try your hand at making nutty banana bread just like grandma used to make (but vegan). The crust is crispy, the center is fluffy, and the smells that fill your kitchen whilst you’re making it are wondrous. The recipe contains walnuts and ground flax seeds and can be made gluten-free or sugar-free if you so desire.
For something more decadent, check out this vegan black forest cheesecake recipe. It features an oatmeal, dark chocolate crust and is made with “hormone balancing” silken tofu, which you can swap out for dairy-free yogurt if you prefer.