I only watch soccer every 4 years. I get too involved, too angry to support any team consistently. It’s better for everyone. And now it is World Cup 2018 and I am watching more games than ever, knowing the names of coaches and players even.
Here in South Africa we still reminisce about our hosting year, 8 years ago. Trying to recapture the magic and solidarity that 2010 brought, every office has drawn lots, supporting teams from Panama to Portugal.
Portugal. I have a soft spot for that team. Perhaps because I have a few Portuguese friends and their passion for the game is infectious. Perhaps because of Pasteis de Nata, the best Portuguese invention before Ronaldo.
Here’s my first (cheats) attempt:
Pasteis de Nata (makes 9-12)
3 free range egg yolks
90g caster sugar
1 T plain flour
1 T corn flour
125 ml cream
185 ml milk
3 ml vanilla extract
1 roll of good quality frozen puff pastry, thawed (this is the cheat bit, I didn’t have time to make my own, with all the soccer matches to watch you know)
- Lightly whisk the egg yolks in a bowl/jug and keep close by.
- Bring the milk, cream and sugar to a simmer in a heavy based saucepan over a medium heat. A thin based saucepan burns too quickly. Whisk continuously.
- Remove 3 tablespoons of milk mixture and add to the flours, whisking quickly to create a smooth slurry.
- Whisk the flour slurry into the milk mixture. Keep whisking for about 3 minutes. The mixture will start to thicken. Turn the heat right down so it does not burn while you do the next bit.
- Temper the egg yolks by adding 3 tablespoons of thickened milk to it, whisking after each addition. This is just to make double sure the yolks don’t become scrambled eggs.
- Now you can add the egg yolk mix to the main milk mix. Whisk over a low heat until incorporated, making sure no lumps have formed.
- Add the vanilla and mix.
- Pour the custard into a jug. This will make filling the cups easier. Place a piece of cling wrap on the surface and leave to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 220ºC
- Cut the puff pastry into circles slightly bigger than the holes of a 9 x 5 cm muffin pan and gently push into the holes.
Tip: test one first before cutting out all the circles. My first attempt was too small. You want the pastry to reach almost over the edge of the tin.
- Pour the custard into the pastry cases to 1cm below the top.
- Bake for 18-25 minutes until the pastry is golden and crisp and the custard is bubbling with tiny brown spots.
- Let them cool in the tin for about 5 mins and then turn them out onto a cooling rack. You might have to gently loosen them using a knife. Gently.
To quote Joao Francisco “When Portugal play, we will drink all day, it will be beautiful, just like the Portuguese flag”