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Pasteis de Nata - Portugal's sweet seduction

Portugal has many attractions to offer, including beaches, fado music and port wine. But there's another treasure you shouldn't miss: Pasteis de Nata, the small, sweet puff pastry tarts with vanilla custard filling. This delicacy is a must for everyone who visits Lisbon.

The history of Pasteis de Nata

The history of Pasteis de Nata dates back to the 19th century. In the Belém neighborhood, many monks and nuns lived even then, including in the Jerome Monastery. There, egg whites were used to strengthen the white hoods and garments - but where to put the yolks that were left in masses? In order not to throw away the leftovers, the recipe for the custard filling was created, in which the egg yolk was put.

When the monastery was closed, one of the monks sold the recipe to the neighborhood pastry shop, which then sold the little tarts in Belem. Even today, Pastéis de Belém is one of the most famous cafes in the city for the sweet snacks. And supposedly, even today there are only 3 pastry chefs who know the original recipe from the monastery.

How are Pasteis de Nata made?

The making of Pasteis de Nata is a laborious process. The dough is made from flour, water and butter and is folded and rolled out several times. Then the custard filling is prepared, which consists of milk, sugar, eggs and vanilla. The cupcakes are baked in a special mold and then sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar.

Where can you find the best Pasteis de Nata in Lisbon?

In addition to the famous Pasteis de Belém Café, there are many other cafes in Lisbon where you can try the delicious tarts. A good address is the Manteigaria Café on Rua do Loreto. Here the Pasteis de Nata are made according to a traditional recipe and you can watch them being made. Pastelaria Versailles on Avenida da República is also a popular place to enjoy the sweet tarts. Another option is Café Castro on Rua Garrett or Pastelaria Emenda on Rua do Loreto.

Pasteis de Nata are a piece of Portuguese culture that you should definitely try. Whether at the famous Pasteis de Belém Café or one of the many other cafés in Lisbon, the little tarts are a sweet temptation not to be missed. With their long history and well-kept secret of production, the Pasteis de Nata are a culinary highlight of the Portuguese capital.

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