The typical Portuguese custard tarts, pastéis de nata, who doesn’t know them? Sweet pastries made with basic ingredients. What is there origin and how did they become so popular. And why you also have Pastéis de Belém? The post below explains you everything.
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Pastel de nata, or in plural pastéis de nata, our the most popular pastries of Portugal. A little custard tart with egg yolks, sugar, flour and milk in puff pastry. That is the basic of pastel de nata. It tastes the best topped with a little bit cinnamon. But if you like more to add sugar on it, or nothing, that also is possible. Also, a great pastel de nata, you eat fresh out of the oven and a little bit lukewarm. Of course, it is so delicious to accompany it with a Portuguese expresso. In our post about coffee, you can select your favorite coffee.
Now we gonna tell something about the history. The original Pastéis de nata come out of Belém, a large neighbourhood in Lisboa. It all started in the Jerónimos monastery. In the 18th century, it was common to use egg-withes to starching the clothes in convents and monasteries. The egg yolks were not needed. So, what did day than do with it? Well, they made pastries with it.
In Belém they made the Pastéis de nata to gain revenue. In 1834, the monastery closed and the recipe was sold. The Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém, who bought the recipe, opened a little bit further as the monastery in 1837. The recipe of these pastéis is a secret and is nowhere written. Only a few cooks have this recipe in their head. Pastéis de Belém is a protected product. So, you may make pastéis de nata and use that name, but you don’t may call them Pastéis de Belém. The taste of the Pastéis de Belém also is different of pastéis de nata. Which ones our the best, I leave up to you to discover.
If you want to taste the real original pastéis, than there only is one option. Go to Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém in Belém.
But of course, you also can taste the pastéis de nata elsewhere in every pastelaria in the Lisboa or in Portugal. In Lisboa, aside of the original in Belém, another large well known company is Maneigaria. Manteigaria has a lot of shops in Lisboa.
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