Pastel de Nata – Puff Pastry

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos front door

According to history, Pastel de Nata was first sold in 1837, in Belém, near the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, when, in an attempt to survive harsh times, the monastery’s clergy put this pastry up for sale. Since then, this pastry has become the ex-libris of the Lisbon pastry and a tourist attraction in itself…

Pastel de Nata on the table

Its preparation starts with the puff pastry, which, despite having several variants, depending on the techniques and ingredients used, has the same purpose: to ensure a well puffed and crunchy pastry that will make the ideal pair with the creamy egg custard.

By hand or with the help of a mixer, we knead the various ingredients well (with the exception of the fat) until we get a homogeneous and very elastic dough. This process will take about 5 minutes if it is done with a mixer and a little longer if done by hand.

In parallel, we mix the fat together until we have a homogeneous paste with a soft consistency. This step is important, since this mixture will be spread on the stretched dough, which should be done without using too much pressure, in order to reduce the risk of tearing the dough.

After the dough is well kneaded, it’s time to stretch it!

Using a rolling pin and some flour (so that it won’t stick to the workbench), we will stretch the dough into a rectangle, with 2 to 4 mm high.

Now we use a famous Portuguese pastry technique known as “volta simples”, which involves folding the dough on itself as if it were a triptych flyer:

  • Start by spreading 1/3 of the mixture over 2/3 of the stretched dough;
  • Then, fold the 1/3 of the dough that has nothing on it over the adjacent 1/3 and finally the last 1/3 over the one that was just folded.

Repeat this process once more, to get a second layer done.

Rolling the dough

On the final step, we stretch the dough once again and spread the remaining mixture on the entire surface. Then we roll it up in a cylinder shape, being careful not to let any air inside.

Puff pastry done!

All good… The hard work is done!

Now you and the dough may rest. The latter at least 6 hours in the fridge before starting to coat the tins…

Check out the rest of the Pastel de Nata recipe and learn how to prepare the Egg Custard

This is not the easiest of our recipes, but surely one of the best!

But don’t worry, you don’t need to learned it all by yourself… Book our Pastel de Nata Pastry Class, a complete, step-by-step, hands-on pastry class that will provide you with the tips and tricks to bake these delightful pastries at home! Are you going to beat the famous Pastel de Nata from the Pastéis de Belém Pastry Factory?! Probably not! But you will for sure impress your friends and family once you get home…


Rolling the dough

Pastel de Nata - Puff Pastry (Alternative)

Homecooking Lisbon
5 from 1 vote
Course Pastry
Cuisine Estremadura
Servings 25 Pastéis de Nata


  • 250 g wheat flour type 55
  • 150 ml water
  • 2 g fine salt
  • 190 g margarine for puff pastry


  • Knead the ingredients, with the exception of the margarine, until you have a dough with some elasticity;
  • Once you have a homogeneous dough, make a ball and cut a cross on top, cutting more on the sides of the dough;
  • With the help of your hand and the rolling pin, stretch the dough between the cuts you made, to get a cross shape, with four "arms". In this process, make sure that the center of the "cross" is higher and with more dough, to then compensate for what we will do in the next step;
  • Knead the margarine by hand, until it becomes malleable and incorporate it in the center of the cross you prepared. Cover the margarine with the "arms" of the "cross";
  • Stretch the dough with the help of the rolling pin until you have a rectangle about 3/4 mm high (don't forget to use flour on the work surface, so it doesn't stick!);
  • Once rolled out, join both ends of the dough in the middle (like a book)and roll it out again (repeat this one more time);
  • On the last time, cover the surface with water and roll it up like a cylinder. Let it rest in the fridge for at least 6 hours.


This version of the puff pastry is suitable for vegetarians since it has no lard as an ingredient.
Don't forget to also check our egg custard recipe!
Keyword Egg Custard, Pastel de Nata, Puff Pastry

2 Comments In This Topic:

  1. 5 stars
    Brilliant baking experience making the “natas”, lots of really useful tips and lots of encouragement!

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