First of all let me congratulate Rico from Rico-Tried and Tested Recipes as the winner to my giveaway challenge! There is a bottle of excellent Portuguese Extra olive Oil going your way.
And since Rico is Portuguese-and so is the Olive oil- what better way to celebrate Rico’s success than with a post on one of Portugal’s not so well hidden secrets-Portuguese Custard tarts.
In order to do so, I must ask you to accompany me on a trip to where it all started and where hundreds flock to on a daily basis to taste this heavenly pastry.
So, It all begun in a little place on the edge of Lisbon called Belem…
Well Belem is very well-know for several architectural wonders that celebrate the Portuguese empire of the 1700’s.
Such as The Castle-right on the edge of the riverThe Padrao dos Descobrimentos– erected as a reminder to all of Portuguese sea route discoveries
The Gothic Monastery (once a covent where the Custard tarts were first made)–Mosteiro dos Jeronimos
Well not far from the Gothic Monastery, you will find a little golden discovery of your own-Pasteis de Belem.From Wikipedia: It is believed that it was created before the 18th century by Catholic Monks at the Jerónimos Monastery (Portuguese: Mosteiro dos Jerónimos) of Belém, in Lisbon . The Casa Pastéis de Belém in Lisbon was the first place outside the convent selling the original creamy dessert, after the monastery was closed in 1820’s, and there they are called Pastéis de Belém, after the name of the area and its famous bakery. Since 1837, locals have gone there to get them warm out of the oven and sprinkled with the cinnamon and powdered sugar. These are very popular, with tourists waiting in excess of 3 hours for them
The place is very unique indeed-from traditional Portuguese Style Mosaic tilesTo speciality winesAnd old-fashioned cash registersYou will feel as if time has just stood still.
You can watch the glorious pastries being removed from a hot oven before being sold:But the best surprise of all: I managed to get a table!
I ordered a strong coffee and a pastel de belem. It was served with the obligatory icing sugar and cinnamon.I expected to pay quite a bit for such a luxury, but when the waiter brought me the bill- a mere 1 euro 50 cents, I was in heaven!
What an experience!
For those of you who cant go to the Belem just yet to experience the same, here’s the recipe to keep you dreaming.
And in the meantime, if you do happen to pop into Pasteis de Belem, be sure to take this home with you! It holds 6 freshly baked heavenly pastries!
So Rico, congrats and this one is for you!
Pasteis de Nata
Prepared puff pasty – defrosted but kept cold
1 ¾ cups whole milk
¼ cup cream
4 egg yolks
3 Tbsp white sugar
2 Tbsp Plain flour
½ cinnamon stick
2 strips lemon peel
½ tsp vanilla extract
- In a sauce pan add milk, cream, egg yolks, sugar, salt, flour mix well with a whisk to ensure all the ingredients are well combined, do not turn heat on yet.
- Once all ingredients are combined and there are no lumps of sugar or flour add cinnamon stick, lemon peel and vanilla.
- Turn heat on to low stirring continuously and gently with whisk. *Note it’s very important to heat the milk slowly, if the milk is heated too quickly, egg yolks could coagulate like scrambled eggs and ruin the consistency of the custard.
- Continue stirring until it cream becomes quite thick and resembles a rich pudding. Watch for thickening around the edges of the pan, you want a really smooth cream so make certain to get in the sides and bottom edges of the pan.
- Let cool completely. When cooled, remove cinnamon stick and lemon peel.
- To avoid milk skin from forming on custard you can place parchment paper on top of warm custard and it will lift out easily when you go to use it to fill puff pasty shells.