Portuguese Custard Tarts - the most classic dessert of Portuguese cuisine!
The original recipe for Portuguese custard tarts has undergone various alterations throughout the years, including the shape of the pastry cup and the filling.
If desired, you can make puff pastry from scratch -- although I personally think that it doesn't make a big difference!
The pastry cream used as a filling for Portuguese custard tarts is rich because it contains a good amount of egg yolks. As for flavoring the pastry cream filling, instead of vanilla extract you can use a piece of lemon peel or a cinnamon stick while preparing the filling, which of course have to be removed once the cream is ready. Substituting vanilla bean instead of the vanilla extract gives these tarts an even richer vanilla flavor—in this case, the vanilla bean should be added to the other ingredients before cooking the filling.
Although not traditional, I do prefer making my tarts with vanilla bean because then the flavor stands out on the very first day that the tarts are made, while the crust is still crispy. On the other hand, when using vanilla extract, the flavor richens and is much better on the second day; however, by then the crust softens.