Portuguese Custard Tart

The tart has been a famous and popular snack/dessert in Macao, a small Chinese city near Hong Kong. The city was under the rule of Portugal for a long time before returning to China in 1999.

The puff pastry tart is said to be made originally by a chef working in the Macao Governor’s House and was modified from pastel de nata, a popular Portugal dessert.

Pastel de Nata 葡式蛋挞



2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup water
8 oz unsalted butter (whisked and at room temperature)


1¼ cup milk
1-1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2/3 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks, beaten
3 tbsp all-purpose flour



  1. In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the flour, salt, and water until a soft dough forms, about 30 seconds.
  2. Flour a work surface and pat the dough into a 6-inch square using a pastry scraper as a guide. Flour the dough, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  3. Roll the dough into 18-inch square.
  4. Brush excess flour off the top and trim the edges. Spread the two-thirds of the dough with about one-third of the butter to within 1 inch of the edge.
  5. Fold over the unbuttered third of the dough, then fold over the third on the other side. Pat down the packet to release air bubbles, then pinch the edges closed. Brush off any excess flour.
  6. Turn the dough packet 90 degrees so the fold is facing you. Lift the packet and flour the work surface. Once again roll out to an 18-inch square, then dot and spread the left two-thirds of the dough with one-third of the butter, and fold the dough as in steps 4 and 5.
  7. Turn the packet 90 degrees and roll out the dough to an 18-by-21-inch rectangle, with the shorter side facing you. Spread the remaining butter over the entire surface.
  8. Roll the dough away from you into a tight log, brushing the excess flour from the underside as you go. Trim the ends and cut the log in half. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours or overnight.


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and 1/4 cup of the milk until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Bring the sugar, cinnamon, and water to a rolling boil in a small saucepan. Do not stir.
  3. Heat the remaining 1 cup milk in another saucepan. Whisk the hot milk into the flour mixture.
  4. Remove the cinnamon stick then pour the sugar syrup in a thin stream into the hot milk-and-flour mixture, whisking briskly. Add the vanilla and stir for a minute until very warm but not hot. Whisk in the yolks, strain the mixture into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside.


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 550°F. Remove a pastry log from the refrigerator and roll it back and forth on a lightly floured surface until it’s about an inch in diameter and 16 inches long. Cut it into scant 3/4-inch pieces. Place a piece cut-side down in each well of a nonstick 12-cup muffin pan (2-5/8 inch size). Allow the dough pieces to soften several minutes until pliable.
  2. Wet your thumbs, flatten dough against the bottom of the cup to a thickness of about 1/8 inch, then smooth the dough up the sides and create a raised lip about 1/8 inch above the pan. The pastry sides should be thinner than the bottom.
  3. Fill each cup 3/4 full with the slightly warm custard. Bake in oven until the edges of the dough are frilled and brown, about 8 to 9 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven and allow the tarts to cool a few minutes in the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack until just warm. Sprinkle powdered sugar and cinnamon on top of custard before serving.

Mid-morning Snacking May Cut Weight-loss Efforts

Women dieters who eat a snack between breakfast and lunch lose an average of 4% less weight compared to women who abstain from a mid-morning snack, according to a new study that will be published in the December issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. The findings suggest mid-morning snacking might be a reflection of recreational or mindless eating habits rather than eating to satisfy true hunger.

Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center conducted a study that involved 123 overweight-to-obese postmenopausal Seattle-area women ages 50 to 75 who were randomly assigned to either a diet-alone intervention (goal: 1,200 to 2,000 calories a day, depending on starting weight, and fewer than 30% of daily calories from fat), or diet plus exercise (same calorie and fat restrictions plus 45 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise per day, five days a week).

While the women received nutrition counseling they were not given any specific instructions or recommendations about snacking behavior. At the end of the study the women were asked to record the time, type and frequency of meals consumed on a normal day. Percent of calories from fat, fiber and fruit and vegetable intake also were estimated using a food-frequency questionnaire.

Over the course of the year-long study, the researchers found mid-morning snackers lost an average of 7% of their total body weight, while those who ate a healthy breakfast but did not snack before lunch lost more than 11% of their body weight. Women who reported eating more than two snacks a day also had higher fiber intake than those who snacked less frequently, and afternoon snackers ate more fruits and vegetables compared to women who didn’t snack between lunch and dinner.

While snacking too close to a main meal may be detrimental to weight loss, waiting too long between meals also may sabotage dieting efforts, the researchers said.

“Snacking could be part of a dieter’s toolkit if they’re eating in response to true hunger. Individuals should determine if they experience long intervals—such as more than five hours—between meals. Our study suggests that snacking may actually help with weight loss if not done too close to another meal, particularly if the snacks are healthy foods that can help you feel full without adding too many calories,” the researchers said.

They noted nationwide surveys indicate 97% of U.S. adults report snacking; however, they advised steering clear of foods less conducive to weight loss and incorporate nutrient-dense foods that are no more than 200 calories per serving. The best snacks for a weight-loss program are proteins such as low-fat yogurt, string cheese, or a small handful of nuts; non-starchy vegetables; fresh fruits; whole-grain crackers; and non-calorie beverages such as water, coffee and tea.


A Duck Liver Appetizer


500 g frozen duck liver slices
6 tbsp brandy
6 tbsp Madeira
10 g salt
10 g sugar


  1. Thaw frozen duck liver in refrigerator overnight.
  2. Add salt and sugar to brandy and Madeira. Stir to dissolve. Use the mixture to marinate liver for 3 to 4 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 220ºF.
  4. Put liver in a heat-proof dish and cover with foil. Bake liver in oven for 7 to 8 minutes. Remove and cool.
  5. Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap. Place liver in the pan. Cover with another piece of plastic wrap. Put another loaf pan on top of the liver. Add some heavy objects in the pan. Refrigerate liver for 24 hours.
  6. To serve – Cut liver into slices. Put on top of a piece of toast. Add strawberry jam or mango jam on top of liver.

Source: Hong Kong magazine

What’s for Breakfast

Home-cooked Japanese Breakfast


  • Steamed Chicken and Broccoli Mixed with Mayo and Sesame
  • Turnip Salad
  • Rice with turnip leaves and tiny fish