Pastéis de nata were created before the 18th century by Catholic monks at the Jerónimos Monastery in the civil parish of Santa Maria de Belém, in Lisbon. Pour the rest of the cream into a sauce pot and heat on medium high. Place a round piece of dough on the bottom of the tin.
Imagine a golden brioche bun shaped like a crescent and you’re almost there. Then picture a bright yellow cake – fluffy, dense and doughy. Add a shiny glaze (…sometimes infused with a drop of local port). And there you have it – the Portuguese Croissant, a great pastel de nata alternative.
I referred to other recipes to check this and found 190C for 20 minutes perfect. These Portuguese custard tarts are dangerously delicious! The famous pasteis de nata come from a small monastery outside of Lisbon, but this recipe gets you as close to the authentic original as possible.
Confeitaria Nacional, Pastelaria Versailles and Alcoa are also definitely worth a visit. They’re high-quality bakers and great places to sample pastel de feijão and pão de deus. Sure, Portuguese locals may roll their eyes at the tourist obsession with pastéis de nata. But mention the bola de Berlim, and michael phelps stripped of medals you’ll receive a knowing glint of appreciation. These classic doughnuts are a Portuguese take on the Berliner – the hole-less filled doughnut originating in Germany – hence the name ‘ball of Berlin’. With this Portuguese custard tarts recipe, you can bring Lisbon’s most beloved pastry to life at home.
Before today’s attempt, I had 7 failed attempts! Whenever Liz saw me bring out the familiar baking tins she’d chuckle and say, “You just won’t give up, will you? ” or “I’m worried this may drive you to madness”. I finally gave in and decided I needed to use a tried and true, tested and proven recipe.
Arroz doce literally means “sweet rice” and refers to a popular Portuguese dessert of rice pudding. It’s one of the most famous Portuguese desserts and a comforting dish that many locals grew up eating. Many Portuguese sweets are unknown to foreigners, which is a shame because to me, it’s one of the best parts about Portuguese cuisine. Open up a Portuguese dessert menu and I guarantee you’ll be thrilled with all the delicious local desserts not named “pastel de nata”.
Another key difference between Portuguese-style french toast and the American version is that rabanadas are typically made with crusty bread. This gives them a crispier exterior and a soft, custard-like interior. The bread is soaked in an egg and milk mixture and fried to a golden brown before being dusted with sugar and cinnamon. Since 1837, locals and visitors to Lisbon have visited the bakery to purchase fresh from the oven pastéis, sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar. They are so popular there are long lines at the take-away counters, in addition to waiting lines for sit-down service.
And like many other Portuguese pastries on our list of best pastel de nata alternatives, this little round sugary beauty was invented by Clarissian nuns. There is so much more to Portuguese pastries than the simple pastel de nata. Yes, we love these perfect Portuguese custard tarts, but you’ll be seriously missing out if you limit yourself to just these. Fill each cup 3/4 full with the cool custard. Bake the pastries until the edges of the dough are frilled and brown, about 8 to 9 minutes for the mini-muffin tins, 15 to 17 minutes for the classic tins.
Discover Porto’s many wonderful museums, churches, art galleries and urban gardens. You can even take a boat ride along the mighty Douro. But, most importantly for this Portuguese Pastry Trail, make a beeline for local pastry institution – Tibias de Braga.