Pastel de Nata (Custard Tarts)
Pastel de nata is the most popular and well known Portuguese dessert. It’s essentially an egg custard tart in filo dough that is best served warm, fresh out of the oven. For those of you in the gym or trying to lose the gut, but have a sweet tooth and willing to splurge a little on the self, this would be it. Just throughing it out there!
Believed to have been created some time prior to the eighteenth century by the Catholic monks at the Jeronimos Monastery, convents and monasteries around Portugal produced the egg tart pastry and many other confectionaries from the yolk leftovers used in the starching of clothes and clearing of wines. However with the expulsion of the religious orders and the closing of convents and monasteries in the aftermath of the 1820 Liberal Revolution, a bakery in the Santa Maria de Belem parish, just around the corner from the very same monastery believed responsible for its creation, was contracted by the former clerics to produce the patented egg tarts and continue their to production, and is the reason they are known as Pasteis de Belem in Lisbon.