Pastel de Nata is a traditional portuguese custard pastry found throughout the country’s pastry shops or cafés.
It consists of a small custard tart in a crème brulée-like consistency, with a slight burnt crust on top, in a puff pastry case. It was created more than 200 years ago by Catholic Sisters at Jeronimos’ Monastery at Belém, in Lisbon. The recipe has, over generations, received some alteration by various cake shops and bakeries throughout Portugal.
The most famous of them are made by the Casa Pastéis de Belém in Lisbon, once it was the first place outside the convent selling this creamy dessert in 1837. There they are called “Pastéis de Belém” due the name of the area and its famous bakery. They follow the ancient “secret recipe” from the monastery. Passed on and known exclusively to the master confectioners who hand-crafted the pastries in the “secrets room”, this recipe remained unchanged to the present day. Therefore they are considered the original ones. Since 1837, locals have gone there to get them warm out of the oven and sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar.
These are very popular, with tourists waiting in excess of 3 hours for them. Apparently it sells over 10,000 tarts a day (with the record day being 55,000 sold!). This famous bustling pastry shop and café in Belém, Lisbon has been churning out its sensational speciality.Visit Portugal, you will want to try it and take some home with you (in nicely packaged tubes of multiple pastries).