Cupcake Jemma Natas Review
It is my husband’s birthday week! I am super into celebrations, especially birthdays so it’s a huge deal for me. C isn’t too into celebrating his birthday so each year I try to get him more into things.
Last year did not go the way I would have liked. The day after C’s birthday we moved from Boise back to east Idaho, so his big day was spent doing moving bits and eating Noodles & Co. I think we did something a week (or month) later to celebrate, but it wasn’t much. (There’s nothing wrong with all that, it just wasn’t how I wanted to celebrate one of my very favorite humans.)
This year we are back on the birthday train! I almost did a whole month of food he loves, but I decided to spare you guys. You’re welcome.
BUT today’s Reviewsday is on a recipe for his favorite pastry; Natas. These are custard tarts from Portugal with the crust being sort of like puff pastry filled with a cinnamon/vanilla custard. They are so good!
I tried making them a few years ago and it did not go well, but I had never eaten one, so I wasn’t too fussed.
We went to Portugal summer 2017 and I LOVED these things! So tasty! (Fun fact, the best one I had was actually at the airport when we were in line to board our plane going back to England.)
Anyway, I decided C’s birthday would be the best time to make these, because I knew they would be a special treat and they would be difficult to make.
And I was right! I used Cupcake Jemma’s recipe for Natas and it was honestly the best, most user friendly, recipe to use, but it was still time consuming and fiddly. This recipe is the closest I’ve gotten to the real deal though so the time was well worth it!
You can watch the video of her making them here:
It’s time consuming because you have to laminate dough (putting layers of butter between layers of dough creating flakiness like a croissant), chill the dough a significant amount of time, make custard and put it all together. I have seen many other recipes for Natas and this was the best one.
The nicest things about Cupcake Jemma’s recipe are the way she laminates and the way she shapes the dough cups.
Most lamination is done using cold butter, sandwiched between dough, and then chilled. You then take the dough out do some hard rolling out, fold it and chill. Over and over and over. Jemma’s method is done using room-temperature butter and folded all at the same time, so it is much quicker in that regard!
To form the dough cups, she shapes them to the shape of the cupcake tin, which seems like a no-brainer, but I haven’t seen anyone else do it that way! So it was really helpful!
The main tips I would give are;
1. Using a rubber bench scraper saved me a lot of time in the folding process so I would highly recommend using one. A rubber spatula could be a nice replacement though if you don’t have a bench scraper.
2. WATCH THE VIDEO OF HER MAKING THEM. This is the easiest way to get it right! Just take the time to watch.
3. I’m not sure if she has published the recipe anywhere so you can ask me for the one I transcribed if you want to try these too.
4. Carefully watch your Natas. I did two batches of these and both turned out differently. One had underdone custard and perfect crust and one had perfect custard and overdone crust. It may take some time to get right, but most people won’t know the difference so you can give away all your failures to friends and they will still think it tastes delicious!
5. To blister the tops a bit try putting the broiler on for a minute or two at the end!