Pastel de nata

Discover fascinating facts about the light flaky puff pastry tarts with a slightly burned creamy custard filling.

See original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine June 2015


  • Pastéis de nata were first created in the 18th century, by Catholic monks at the Jerónimos Monastery in the civil parish of Santa Maria de Belém in Lisbon.
  • As convents and monasteries used large quantities of egg-whites for starching the nuns’ habits, the leftover egg yolks were used to make cakes and pastries.


Pastéis de Belém:

  • After the monastery was closed down by the state in 1834, the monks sold the secret pastéis de nata recipe to a nearby factory, where they’ve been made ever since 1837.
  • Only egg tart pastries from this family-owned Fábrica dos pastéis de Belém (which serves up to 50,000 a day in peak season) can be called pastéis de Belém. All other pastelarias sell pastéis de nata.




  • Traditionally, this custard tart is served directly from the oven, with cinnamon and icing sugar.
  • It isn’t only popular in Portugal, but also in Brazil, Goa and Mainland China. Currently pastéis de nata can be bought all over the world.
  • There’s even a Portuguese brotherhood dedicated to defend the legacy of the famous pastry, the Confraria do Pastel de Nata.



Roll 1 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.


See original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine June 2015

Posted in Food, Typical Portugal and tagged , .

Leave a Reply