Pastel de Nata, this little Portuguese flan who conquered the world

Summer of all sugar, all honey (4/7) – An icon of Portuguese gastronomy that can now be found everywhere, the Bastille de nata originates from Lisbon, or more accurately from the Belém region. The original recipe is still a secret there.

It’s hard to stay in Portugal without tasting a pastel de nata at least once. Even some paste de nata. open linguistic brackets, Pastes de nata is the plural form pastel de nata Which simply means “pastry cream”. This mini pastry pie is prepared exclusively in individual portions in a puff pastry base where a mixture of milk, sugar, egg yolk, flour, lemon peel and cinnamon is poured before baking. Pastilles are eaten in two or three bites, often accompanied by coffee: “Om Pastel de Nata or coffee, Favor! »

Some amateurs worship it so much that they do not hesitate to make a pilgrimage to the Belem region of Lisbon to taste the sweetness in its place of origin. The story goes that it was the monks of the famous Jeronimos Monastery (1601) who came up with the recipe for eliminating the yolk stock from separating the eggs used to make the beds. The economy of pastry resources is somewhat similar to that of the Bordeaux cannels that the nuns invented to recycle egg yolks from the wine cellars of the Quai des Chartrons while the eggs were used to “glue” sediments into the wine.

But let’s go back to the mouth of the Tagus River … In 1820, the liberal revolution decided to cut off support for monasteries all over the country, including the city of Belem, forcing the religious to find new resources for their needs. Then they decided to sell their famous cake to the people passing through Belem. Ten years later, they finally agreed to hand the recipe to a Portuguese businessman from Brazil, Domingos Rafael Alves, convinced he could benefit from it. The man has a certain taste judging today by the planetary success of the mini pastry pie, which in 2011 was elected among the seven culinary wonders of Portugal.

Look for the rest of the episodes of the series “A summer, every sugar, every honey.”

episode 1 – Tarte Tropézienne, the gentle star of the most selected resort on the Côte d’Azur

Episode 2 –Sfogliatella riccia, a favorite Neapolitan slipper

Episode 3 – Basque, the crunchy and creamy shortbread to put in your bag

secret recipe

In the pastry shop Belém where an average of 20,000 pancakes are sold daily. Pasteis de Bélèm / Photo press

And if only in the pastry shop Belém, where an average of 20,000 tarts are sold daily. Still in the same building that opened in 1837, it can be recognized by its walls covered in blue azulejos or its long queue, where the recipe is made according to the original. The recipe that home pastry chefs have taken in writing to keep it secret. Here, the cake is also called pastel de belem to emphasize its exclusive character. Another advantage, the paste is generally served sprinkled with a little cinnamon powder.

Apparently all pastry shops in Lisbon now serve pastis de nata, each claiming a completely personal recipe. Obviously some brands, among the list below, do well, but it’s up to everyone to make up their mind to pick their favorite pastel.

The best places to taste Bastille de Nata in Lisbon

Pasteis de Belém, Rua de Belém nє 84 a 92. 1300 – 085 Lisbon, tel. : +351 21363 74 23.

Confeitaria Nacional, Praça da Figueira 18B, 1100-241 Lisbon, Tel. : +351 21342 4470.

Pastelaria Aluma, AR Francisco Mitras 67, 1350-139 Lisbon. Such as. : +351 21396 3797.

Pastelaria Santo Antonio, R. do Milagre de Santo António 10, 1100-351 Lisbon, Tel. : +351 21887 1717.


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