Les Pasteis de Nata, Lisbon’s delight

7 years ago - Pauline P.

Kind of a small pastry flan, often eaten warm and sprinkled with cinnamon, the pastel de Nata has become an emblem of the Lisbon gastronomy. Discover the origin of this pastry, popular with locals and tourists, and an easy recipe to bring a bit of Lisbon home!

The History

Pastel de Nata "cream pie" in Portuguese was created in the early nineteenth century by the monks of the Jéronimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jeronimos), located in the city of Belem, which has become a district of Lisbon.

The monastery of the Hieronymites of Lisbon

When the liberal revolution broke out in 1820, it was ordered to close all the monasteries, all the monks were then expelled. To survive, one of them decided to produce small tartlets that were formerly made in convents, and sell them in a small shop adjoining the monastery. Belem was then a tourist destination in itself; many visitors would come to contemplate the Tower of Belem (Torre de Belem) and the Monastery. The success of these small flans was immediate, and since 1837, only the original Fabrica dos Pasteis de Belem produces and sells the original recipe of these cakes renamed Pasteis de Belem.

The Lisbon afternoon tea

We now find these throughout all of Portugal, but also far beyond! Brazil has of course adopted it, but more surprisingly, the entire Asian continent: introduced via Macao at the time of the Portuguese colonial presence, the pastel de nata seduced China, then Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong. This global success has made pastel de nata one of the 50 best foods in the world by The Guardian!

The recipe

After a gourmet stay in Lisbon would you want to experience a bit of Portuguese flavors at home? Follow this quick and easy recipe!

  • 2 pâtes feuilletées (puff pastry)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 500 ml milk
  • 20g of flour
  • 250 g sugar
  • 1 washed organic lemon zest about 1 cm in width.

Roll the puff pastry on itself to make a small sausage and cut slices of about 1cm thick. Place each slice in a small tart pan (flat) and flatten it with your thumb so that the batter covers the pan.

Dilute 20 g of flour into 500ml of milk. Whisk. Add lemon zest. bring then the milk to boil while whisking regularly. At the first boil, remove from heat and reserve.

Mix the eggs and egg yolks and set aside.

For the syrup: Mix 250g of sugar and a little bit of water (sugar should be moist). Melt the sugar slowly. Cook the syrup until it reaches a temperature of 107/110 ° C.

Remove it from heat and stir into milk / flour mixture, stirring often and vigorously enough. Remove the lemon zest.

Add the eggs, still mixing regularly.

Place the pans full of dough on a baking sheet. fill 3/4 full with cream.

Bake in a preheated oven (250 to 300 °c) for 7 to 10 minutes.

Ready To taste?

Pasteis de Nata's recipe