Naughty me. I think I just pissed off both the Italians and Portuguese. I guess this means that Santa won’t be bringing any gifts this year…
Yeah, whatever. I’d much rather be naughty than nice, because that way I’ll always end up with pretty fab desserts in my house!
Like this one for instance! It’s an amazingly quick and easy combination of a Portuguese Pastel De Nata with the ultimate Italian flavours of ricotta cheese and lemon.
I can still remember the first time I ate a Pastel de Nata. I was in Lisbon, the weather was perfect and I was enjoying a good cup of strong coffee while watching plenty of good-looking Portuguese cuties walk by. However, once I took a bite of this very famous egg tart, I couldn’t care less about all those Lisbon cuties and could only focus on the cutie in front of me on a plate. You have to admit, these little tarts look pretty amazing, huh?!
As always, I didn’t want to bake an exact copy of the original. I believe it is better to do something totally different with an all-time classic, because that way you won’t get disappointed when it turns out your attempt on the classic is not as tasty as the one you tasted on your holiday.
Hence, I decided to add two of my favorite Italian flavours: ricotta and lemon. The zest of the lemon gives the tart the perfect zing and the ricotta creates such a wonderful creamy and rich texture, it’s practically impossible not to start smiling!
Portuguese Pastel De Nata with an Italian Twist
Ingredients (makes 6)
• 250gr ricotta cheese
• 1 egg
• 3 tbsp honey
• 1 tbsp chopped candied lemon peel
• Zest of half a lemon
• 1 sheet of puff pastry
• 4 tbsp caster sugar
• Juice of one lemon
1. Preheat the oven at 200°C. Grease a muffin tin with butter.
2. Unroll the sheet of puff pastry and sprinkle over some ground cinnamon, then roll the pastry into a Swiss roll shape and cut into 6 rounds.
3. Put these into 6 of the holes in a muffin tin and use your thumbs to stress and mould the pastry into the holes so the bottom is flat and the pastry comes up to the top.
4. Put the pastries in the oven and bake for 8 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, whisk together the ricotta, egg, lemon zest, candied lemon and honey until you get a smooth batter.
6. Take the muffin tin out of the oven and use a teaspoon to press the puffed up pastry back to the sides. Spoon the ricotta mixture into the tart cases. Lower the heat of your oven to 180°C and bake for a further 10-12 minutes. (They should be still a bit wobbly but they will firm up once removed from the oven, trust me 😉 )
7. Heat the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan and let it bubble until you get a lovely golden caramel. Pour some caramel over each tart and put aside.