Portugal: Mini Milk Tarts – Queijadas de Leite

Edited and written by Catherine Cunningham. Published September 6th 2021.

Original recipe by Home Made Interest.

Starting with our first destination in Europe, Portugal! Tart puff pastry treats are very popular in Portugal with egg tarts taking the crown for the most beloved. However, while they might be the most asked for at the many padarias (bakeries) in Portugal, they are the most difficult to make. Milk tarts are the next best thing that you can make without shedding a tear, as long as it is done correctly! 

Creamy on the inside yet paired with the crispy outside, these popover-like treats are an easy staple to make in Portugal. Queijadas de leite are loved and made by “the typical” Portuguese family households. This popover-like tart is usually the foundation for every Queijadas and has multiple different ways to make them, with other mix-ins and flavors. 

Milk? Why is it called milk tarts… it’s because of the four cups of milk! In this recipe it’s a must for the batter to create the creamy middle, and with the sugar topping it makes the best bite all in one. Be prepared for the batter to be very liquidy, and make sure to clean up around the edges of the cupcake tin. Just the smallest spot of batter can become annoying to scrub away. 

The first time I made them didn’t go as well as I had hoped for. The butter wasn’t cooled enough and I over buttered the pans. To really perfect this recipe, I redid it and added my edits. After take two and just a few more moments in the oven, it was great enough to call it complete. Practice makes perfect, and I’m thrilled I was able to have the extra time in the school kitchen and time in my own kitchen to really fall in love with the recipe. 

Even though I did say this recipe is easier to make, time is helpful to have. This is about an hour long process, including baking time. Luckily these can be made up to two days in advance, as long as they are refrigerated. Take your time with the whisking of this recipe and smile through the clean up, it honestly doesn’t take much work for this recipe to be delicious, just patience. And four cups of milk! 

Ingredients:

2 cups of granulated sugar 

1 cup of all purpose flour 

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

½ cup of unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

4 cups of whole milk

1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon 

1/4 teaspoon  of ground nutmeg 

For the Cinnamon Sugar Topping

1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon

Just a pinch of ground nutmeg

Lastly, 2 tablespoons of Brown sugar

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 fahrenheit and lighty butter two cupcake tins (enough for everything to be covered but not have a thick layer of butter). 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the 2 cups of sugar, the flour, and the 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and nutmeg all together. 
  3. Next whisk in the already beaten eggs, whisk well. While whisking the mixture, gently add in melted butter, and then stir in the whole milk. It’s okay if the batter is liquidy.
  4. Slowly pour the filling into the buttered cupcake tins, filling each a bit more than ½  full. 
  5. Now, in a small bowl combine the brown sugar and spices for the cinnamon sugar topping. 
  6. Bake until the sides and tops are dark golden brown for about 30 to 35 minutes. 
  7. Remove the pans from the oven and place onto a cooling rack. While still hot*, run a sharp knife around the sides and use a thin flat decorating spatula to carefully remove each tart. Be delicate!  

*Tip!: These milk tarts need to be removed from the pan while still hot. Otherwise the sugar topping will harden and the custard will set into the pan, (which is not the goal). 

  1. Sprinkle generously with your cinnamon sugar topping and allow it to cool to room temperature. The center will harden while it cools down.
  2. Serve these the same day at room temperature or store in the refrigerator to enjoy chilled. 

10. Enjoy!! 

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