House of Lewisham Cookbook

Following the success of the Catford Cookbook, we decided to launch the Lewisham Cookbook.

Featuring mouth-watering illustrations from locally-based illustrator Nancy Ellis, it features dishes chosen after speaking with local people about the meals they cook and their cultural significance. They range from national dishes of Nigeria, to the meals cooked before the Jewish festival of Yom Kippur, recipes shared by our Romani community, and traditional British favourites.

Dishes are split into chapters of meat, poultry, fish, vegetarian, vegan and sweets - with something for every season.

A proportion of each sale will be donated to the Lewisham Food Bank and the Refugee Cafe, who work with refugees to break down barriers and create opportunity, employability and community for those granted asylum in London.

Today we are sharing with you one of our favourite recipes to enjoy!

Pasteis de Nata 

INGREDIENTS

  • 300g puff pastry
  • butter for the tins

FOR THE CUSTARD

  • 250ml whole milk
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 25g butter
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 3 Egg yolks

FOR THE SYRUP

  • 200g caster sugar
  • Zest of an unwaxed lemon
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 100ml water

METHOD

1. Butter a tray of shallow cupcake or muffin tins, and chill it in the fridge. Roll the pastry and cut 12 rounds, then use your fingers to press them into the cavities of the tray, making sure they come over the level of the tray a little bit. Chill them while you make the custard and syrup.

2. Warm 200 millilitres of the milk in a saucepan with the cinnamon stick and the butter until the butter has melted. Turn off the heat, cover the pan and leave the cinnamon stick to infuse.

3. Put the sugar, lemon zest and the other cinnamon stick into a frying pan and stir it over a medium heat for five minutes until the sugar dissolves into a light, fragrant caramel. Make sure you keep an eye on this the whole time as you don't want burnt flavours in the caramel. Turn off the heat and leave for a few minutes to cool a little before adding the water, then turn the heat to low and let the caramel slowly melt into a syrup consistency. Leave the syrup on one side while you finish the custard.

4. Sift the cornflour and flour into the remaining 50 millilitres of milk and whisk to form a paste Pour the warm milk mixture over the flour paste and whisk again. Pour the mixture through a sieve back into the pan, heat gently and keen stirring for three to four minutes until it thickens to a custard. You can leave the cinnamon stick in during this - the longer the better. Slowly add half of the syrup (checking that there aren't clumps of sugar) to the custard pan and whisk until everything is completely blended. Take the cinnamon sticks out.

5. If you like, you can put the custard in the fridge at this point along with the pastry cases and put the tarts together when you are ready - the next day or a few days later would be fine.

6. When you are ready to cook the natas, heat your oven to its maximum temperature - around 240 to 250°C - and out a flat baking tray or pizza stone in there to heat up. This will help to make the bases of the tarts crisp.

7. Separate three eggs, reserving the egg whites to use for something else or you can freeze them for another time. Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl, then stir them thoroughly into the custard. Pour or spoon the mixture evenly into the pastry cases. Carefully put the filled tin onto the hot baking tray or stone and bake for six to eight minutes, or until the custard puffs up and you have beautiful bronzed areas on the surface of the natas. A lot depends on your oven - you can choose to grill the tops for a minute if you aren't getting the required caramelisation from your ovens heat.

8. Take the tray out of the oven when you are satisfied with the tops of the tarts, and very gently brush them with the remaining syrup - be careful not to take the top laver off the custard. Let them cool tor a bit before attempting to move them to a cooling rack.