Is it wrong that nearly a year after my trip to Lisbon I still dream about pastéis de nata? Seriously, I think about them all the time—the warm, fresh-out-of-the-oven, creamy vanilla custard tarts with light, flaky crusts. Sprinkled with a little cinnamon and powdered sugar, the tops gently browned by the oven, they literally melt in your mouth.
In case you’ve never heard of them, pastéis de nata are small egg tart pastries that can be found in cafés all over Portugal. They were first made by a pair of nuns in the early 1800s at the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, a monasteryjust outside of Lisbon. The most famous ones are still baked at the Casa Pastéis de Belém, located next to the monastery, although I bought and enjoyed them daily—morning, noon, and night—from a café only a block away from my hotel.
When we left Lisbon, I even had the café wrap up six pastéis to take home with me. Of course, when I got back to Los Angeles they were a smushed mess in my suitcase…but that didn’t stop me from greedily gobbling them up.
So now that it’s been a year, and unfortunately I have no immediate plans to return to Portugal, I decided to bake some of these delicious treats myself. Obviously I’m not a pastry chef, but with a recipe I found online I’m going to give it the old college try. I will post the results soon!
Here are a couple pictures of pastéis de nata to get you salivating. Click on the thumbnails for a closer look.
Here’s a shortcut to my follow-up story!