Any sane person that’s visited Lisbon, Portugal knows that their trip is not complete without a visit to the neighbourhood of Belem where one is encouraged to stuff one’s face with warm, delcious, gooey custard tarts known as Pastel de Nata (aka Pastel de Belem). These egg-custard tarts with their crackly phyllo-like crust are actually soaked in cultural history too!
Turns out, these tarts were orginally made by the monks of Jeronimas Monestary who were looking for something to do with their egg yolks. They used the egg whites for startching their dress and linens. Well..talk about a miracle! These tarts have stood the test of time.
In the face of many monestaries closing, the monks of Jeronimas Monestary in Belem used these tarts to make money but were still forced to sell the recipe to a sugar refinery in 1837. The heirs of this refinery own the cafe where these are most famous in the Belem area today.
Even if you can’t get these tarts straight from the source, I encourage you to seek out an authentic Portugues bakery near you, sprinkle a tart with cinnamon and enjoy all that history has to offer your tastebuds.
Peace, love and history.
P.S. Here are a few other shots of my trip to Lisbon and Sintra!