A tart made with puff pastry that breaks into a thousand pieces with a single bite and the tasty egg custard filling that makes you eat the whole tart in just a few bites. The Pasteis de Nata are a famous delicacy from Portugal and it’s almost impossible not to eat one while visiting the country.
Portuguese usually eat these tarts with an espresso while standing at a counter in a cafe. The Pasteis de Nata are cheap and do just the trick when you want something sweet but you are not very hungry. Make sure you add some cinnamon on top of the custard tart – it tastes even better.
The most famous place to buy these tarts is in Belem in Lisbon at the Pasteis de Belem. The tarts sold here are one of a kind and you won’t find others like them anywhere else. Go in the evening to avoid long queues.
History of PastEis de Belém
Fun Fact: The secret that makes the Pasteis de Belém, so great, can’t be written down; it can only be memorised.
Following the dissolution of the monasteries in Portugal in 1834, every propriety that belongs to the cleric was nationalised. Churches, monasteries and other lands that once were rent free, now they had to pay a rent to remain open.
Plenty of monasteries closed their doors; others struggled to pay the increasing rents. Monks started selling specialities that only they knew the recipe – many of the traditional Portuguese cakes and sweets come from these entrepreneur monks.
The famous Pasteis de Belem had such a start, one monk starting selling them in order to keep his monastery open. These tarts were so good that they quickly became popular. The recipe has been kept a secret since then but remained unchanged until today.
PASTEIS DE NATA RECIPE
You Will Need
- 200 ml double cream
- 50 ml milk
- 1 teaspoon of corn flour
- 100 g sugar
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 packet of puff pastry
- white flour
Getting Your Hands Dirty
- Spread the puff pastry with a rolling pin
- Grab a muffin tray and coat the holes with butter and white flour
- Cut some of the puff pastry and coat the muffin tray holes with it
Egg Custard Filling:
- Grab a mixing bowl and add the double cream, milk, egg yolks, corn flour, sugar and whisk everything together
- Pour the mixture into a sauce pan, keep whisking the mixture non-stop as it cooks on a low fire
- When the mixture starts boiling, take out of the fire and let it cool down
- Fill the puff pastry in the baking tray with the egg custard mixture
- Bake the Pasteis de Nata in the oven at 250 degrees for 15 minutes