Memorable Eats: Pastéis de nata / Pastéis de Belém

If you’d told me two weeks ago that my knees would go weak over an egg tart pastry, I would have laughed.But after trying Portugal’s signature sweet, I think it was probably a good thing we chose to take a seat at a table instead of ordering from the outdoor counter service.

Pastéis de Belém – the volume of pastries was almost unbelievable!

I wasn’t sure what to expect when our Lisbon friend took us to try them. But a pastel de nata packs a lot of yum in a cute little package: a sweet, flaky pastry cup, filled with egg custard, and baked to perfection.

Pastéis de nata have been around since the 18th century. They were created by Portuguese monks, looking for a use for all of the egg yolks left over after they’d used egg whites to starch their laundry. And thus a Portuguese tradition was born. In 1837 the recipe was sold to a family whose descendants continue to run Lisbon’s Pastéis de Belém to this day.

A little cinnamon and powdered sugar on top, a light-roasted baca (a Portuguese espresso) on the side, and you have yourself the perfect afternoon treat.

We really enjoyed the fresh-made pastries at their original home, Pastéis de Belém in Lisbon, as well as those we had at local pastry shops in Porto.

 

Pastéis de Belém
R. Belém 84-92
1300-085 Lisboa, Portugal

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