Time for cake

If there’s no cake, it isn’t a party! Instead of having a slice of New York cheesecake, Dutch apple pie or Victorian sponge, why not try something a bit more Algarve-like? Although they don’t look as dainty or colourful as their foreign counterparts, Portuguese cakes do taste nice. Try these three.

See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine August 2016


Pastel de nata

The absolute favourite of the Enjoy the Algarve team who regularly start the weekend (and some other days of the week if we’re being honest) with this flaky puff pastry tart with a slightly burned creamy custard filling.

Pasteis de nata can be found in every Portuguese bakery. They’re called ‘pasteis de Belem’ in the Lisbon area. A pastel de nata is more something you’d have with your coffee than a cake that’s only for special occasions, which suits us just fine. Read more about the history of the pastel de nata here.

Make your own pasteis de nata

  • Roll one sheet puff pastry into a log and cut this into 12 even sized rounds. Roll those rounds into discs and press them into a lightly greased 12 holes muffin tin.
  • Put 1 whole egg, 2 egg yolks, 115g golden caster sugar and 2 tablespoons cornflour in a pan and mix together. Gradually add 400ml full fat milk while stirring. Place pan on medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and boils. Remove from the heat and stir in 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.
  • Let it cool down and spoon into the muffin tins. Bake in a preheated oven of 180˚C for about 20 minutes or until golden-brown.

Picture below by Claude Truong-Ngoc


Bolo rei

Decorated with glazed fruits, the bolo rei is traditionally eaten between Christmas and Ephiphany (January 6) and tastes like sweet bread. Take care when taking a bite as there could be a coin hidden in it (although nowadays chances are higher of finding a fava bean – less choking hazards). The person finding the coin or bean has to bake or pay for the next cake.

It’s called bolo rei (King’s Cake) because it usually has a hole in the centre and thus resembles a crown with diamonds (the candied fruits are the diamonds, use your imagination). In 2015, pastry chef Felipe Martins of Pastelaria Kubidoce in Olhão baked a gigantic bolo rei measuring about 100 metres.

Make your own bolo rei

  • Soak half a cup of candied fruit, some raisins and some pine nuts overnight in port wine.
  • Stir 25g dry yeast into 75ml warm milk in bowl and leave for 5min.
  • Mix 100g flour and 1½ teaspoon salt in large bowl. Make hole in centre and pour in the dissolved yeast. Stir with a wooden spoon, cover bowl with dish towel and leave for about 20 minutes.
  • In separate bowl, beat 150g unsalted butter with 150g sugar and the grated zest of two oranges until light and fluffy. Add 3 eggs, and beat well after each addition. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and mix until dough is soft. Knead for 10 minutes.
  • Add the dried fruit and pine nuts. Place dough into clean bowl and cover with dish towel. Let rise until doubled in size. Shape dough into ring and place on buttered baking sheet. Insert dried fava bean or coin (wrapped in wax paper), brush with egg glaze and decorate with candied fruit (such as cherries and dates). Bake at 200°C 45 minutes or until golden-brown.

Picture above by Comte0, picture below by José Conçalves


Carob & almond cake

The tarte de alfarroba e amendôas combines two traditional Algarve ingredients: carob beans and almonds. It’s rich and indulgent; don’t slice off too much. It’s also almost healthy as the sweetness of the carob beans means there’s no need to use sugar.

Carob & almond cake is popular throughout the south of Portugal and each town has its own local recipe; some include carob liquor while others add figs. For more information about the carob bean, look here.

Make your own carob & almond cake

  • In a bowl, separate the whites from yolks and beat 4 egg whites into a creamy and even consistency. Set it aside.
  • Mix 1 cup flour, half a cup oatmeal, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1 cup carob powder, and half a cup of honey until smooth.
  • Add in 3 tablespoons of olive oil, half a cup chopped almonds, and 1 cup milk to the bowl. Add the 4 egg yolks into the mixture and stir while slowly adding the egg whites. Stir it until it is mixed well.
  • Pour the batter into a greased baking form and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes at 180˚C. For the unhealthy option: cover with melted chocolate and chocolate sprinkles or flakes.

Picture above by Dennis Mojado, picture below by Divya Kudua



See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine August 2016

Posted in Food, Recipe.