Macau Egg tarts (Pastéis de nata)

Although there are now many shops and cafes in Macau, and now even in Hong Kong, that sell egg tarts, the ultimate and mother (or should I say father) of all egg tarts are still the legendary Lord Stow’s Egg tarts made and sold in Coloane village, in Macau, at the original and very first Lord’s Stow’s Café

It was a Brit, Andrew Stow, who brought these lovely desserts to Macau. He started making these golden tarts in the 1980s at his café and they’re still made at the same café today. In the 1990s his ex-wife Margaret, who owns the also excellent Café Nata in central Macau, brought these tarts to the mass market. They soon spread outside Macau, and hotels and restaurants across southern China and Hong Kong were selling these egg tarts known as ‘dan tat’ in Cantonese. But the ultimate still remains Lord Stow’s. To distinguish between the regular ‘dan tats’ now sold across China and the genuine article from Macau, we call the Macau egg tarts ‘po tat’, which just means simply Portuguese tart rather than egg tart. The hordes of Mainland Chinese tourists that I have to wrestle past to buy the famous ‘po tat’ leaves me in no doubt that the Andrew Stow’s egg tarts have helped to bring thousands of visitors to Macau over the years.

Luckily for me, my school was just across the road from Margaret’s Café Nata and my mother and I always used to enjoy egg tarts for lunch together there. At weekends after swimming at Coloane beach I would visit to Lord Stow’s café to feed my egg tart addiction. Ten years ago, my now husband visited me in Macau, we were just dating back then but he knew about my love of egg tarts and hoping to impress my mother he bought a box for her. Unfortunately the egg tarts didn’t made it to our dinner table. Somewhere in the taxi between Lord Stow’s and my house he succumbed to temptation and ate them all. He still loves egg tarts and my mother always brings some for him when she visits Hong Kong – luckily she’s better at resisting temptation on the ferry to Hong Kong than he was in the taxi to my house. I do not know Lord Stow’s secret recipe for ultimate egg tart, here’s my take on it which I think is pretty close to his version. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!


Muffin Tin/mould, rolling pin, pastry brush, cookie/pastry cutter, balloon whisk, large bowl and a sauce pan.



For the Egg Custard Mixture:
1.  4 eggs, yolks only
2.  80ml whipped cream
3.  80ml full fat milk
4.  65g golden caster sugar
5.  1 tsp. vanilla extract or 1 vanilla pod


For the Pastry:
6.  2x 320g ready rolled shop-bought, all butter puff pastry if you are in hurry or just feeling lazy. Otherwise you can also make your own puff pastry by following “All Butter Puff Pastry” instructions on the pastry section of this site.
7.  100g unsalted butter, softened (for pastry and for greasing muffin tin)
8.   25g icing sugar


For Glazing:
9.  3 tbsp. milk
10. 10g icing sugar
For the Egg Custard Mixture:
1.  On a bowl whisk your egg yolks and sugar until all ingredients are well incorporated.
2.  On a small sauce pan over a very low heat, gently simmer your milk, cream and vanilla pods/extract for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat, leave to cool for a couple of minutes, and then pour this into your egg and sugar mixture.
3.  Whisk all the ingredients together. Cover with a cling film and place in the fridge overnight.

For the Pastry, baking and glazing process:
4.  Pre-heat your oven to 200°C. Butter your muffin tin/mould.
5.  On a flour dusted work surface, roll both of your puff pastry approx. 3mm in thickness, wide and long enough to cover your entire baking tin, brush the pastry with butter on one side, then sprinkle over some icing sugar on top.

6.  Using a cookie cutter, cut the pastry into discs.

7. Place 3 pastry discs overlapping each other. Just lightly press them together so that they stick together. We’d like the pastry to puff so best not to roll them together or press them too firmly together, a light touch would do.
8.  Place pastry discs on your muffin tin/mould; gently press the pastry at the bottom and around the edges of the tin/mould.

9. Pour your egg custard mixture and bake in the oven for approx. 15-18 minutes or until the mixture has set with a slight wobble when gently shaken. Remove from the oven once baked and set aside.

10. Switch oven setting to grill,  brush the egg tarts with some milk and sprinkle over some more icing sugar on top. Return your egg tarts into the oven and grill just to slightly brown the top of the custard for approx. 5-6 minutes. Remove from the oven, set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Sprinkle over some cinnamon powder.

Serve warm.


Extra Tip:
I have tried making these Macanese egg tarts with both silicon muffin mould and muffin tins. If you do have muffin tins I would recommend you use this instead, baking the tart in the tin makes their bottoms crispy and golden just like those egg tarts you get in Macau. Unfortunately silicon mould doesn’t do the same trick, my puff pastry didn’t crisp up.
To make the puff pastry extra sweet dust them with more icing sugar before rolling them. You can also sprinkle over some Demerara sugar on top to add a nice texture to the custard tops as per the picture above. For this recipe, I did both version,  some with just icing sugar sprinkling on top- keeping the custard texture soft and gooey and for some I added Demerara sugar for the nice extra texture on custard tops.

One thought on “Macau Egg tarts (Pastéis de nata)

  1. Hey Angelie, nice blog! 🙂

    I have seen those egg tarts in Madrid too. I don’t know if they come form a specific region in Spain, will have to ask!

    I think you should visit us and have a cooking session with N.; she’d love it! Unfortunately I have little time for mother/daughter cooking sessions at the moment.

    Will try to do some crêpes this week though!

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