Pastéis De Nata - Portuguese Egg Tarts

eggtartsV3I decided that since this is not a recipe that I came up with or one from my family, that I would post where I got this one from and then give some information on this very famous tart. If you are here just for the recipe I got it from Rasa Malaysia from her Portuguese Egg Tart recipe.
The only different thing I did was instead of using her crust I used a puff pastry that I rolled out fairly thinly (as my hubby told me the last time I made these using a different recipe that the crust should be more flaky and puffy than regular pie crust). They were great! The hubby loved them, though they aren't exactly how he remembers them and even the little one enjoyed them.

If you are here to get a little history lesson with your food then please feel free to continue.

Pasteis De Nata are quite well known. You can type it in in Google and come up with about 342,000 results for it. You can find all kinds of recipes and I don't think two of the ones I've seen have been exactly the same, thanks to the fact that the Portuguese were explorers and tended to take their food knowledge all over the world as well as bringing much of it back to their country, these little tarts are famous the world round.

eggtarts4As to where these tarts originate, they were created in a Catholic Monastery called Jerónimos Monastery of Belém which is in Lisbon (the capitol and largest city in Portugal, also where my hubby is originally from :) ) in the early 1800's. All sources I've found speak of the one and only Casa Pastéis de Belém which is the first place the Pasteis De Nata or Pasteis De Belem were sold outside the convent, and was opened in 1837.

Some sources say that the Monastery closed in the 1820's and the recipe was sold to a confectioner and others say that the Casa Pastéis de Belém was opened in order to raise money for the monastery, that eventually became a UNESCO heritage site (I did ask the husband if this was true, to which he replied he didn't know. I then took a look at the site and their list. Because I didn't see Jeronimos Monastery in the list, the only one that looked like it could be it was Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belém in Lisbon. If I am wrong please let me know as I cannot go to Lisbon at the moment and check all my facts).
Casa Pastéis de Belém in any case is the only place to get the original version of the tarts which are called Pasteis De Belem, and NOT Pasteis De Nata which is the version that is more widely known. It's said that the original recipe made at Casa Pastéis de Belém is:

"Perhaps the most closely guarded secret in Portuguese cuisine, allegedly known to only a precious few at the Pasteis de Belem."
The delicious egg tarts were also chosen to represent Portugal in the "Café Europe initiative Austrian presidency of the European Union, on Europe Day 2006." As you can tell this pastry is not only famous in Portugal and with the Portuguese in general but it's made it's way to many places and is especially popular in Asian locations and communities such as Macau, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. They even have them in Kentucky Fried Chicken branches in Hong Kong.
As for me, I will be definitely going to Casa Pasteis De Belem when I get the chance to go to Portugal to meet my family over there. The hubby has promised me (he actually just said "Yeah I'm sure we will." but to me this means "Yes, honey we will definitely be going." :D).
If you would like more information on Pasteis De Nata or would like to know where I found my information here are the links:
There's history - and a secret - in every bite - By Dominick Merle

Pasteis De Nata - Wikipedia

Pasteis De Nata - Portuguese Custards - Algarve Buzz

My Hubby who is originally from Lisbon, Portugal... though you'll just have to trust me on this one ;)

I've just been informed by Basic Basil, that Casa Pastéis de Belém has their own website over at it is however in Portuguese at first but scroll down to find it is also in English.

Click on "2. Historial" for a bit of history,"3. Tour" will lead you to a page where on the bottom right hand corner is a arrow key pad (looks like the one on your keyboard) that will actually take you through the shop as you click. The "4. Horario" link will give you a list of opening hours in both Portuguese and English.


pegasuslegend said...

I have always wanted to try these, these look fabulous thanks for posting!

Anonymous said...

They're so pretty - and such a great lesson!

Stacy said...

These pictures are fabulous! I want to eat them all up! Great post :)

the traditional gourmand said...

Your pictures are fabulous! I want to eat these all up! Great post :)

Polka_Roo said...

Mmmm... Pasteis de nata are one of my favourite desserts. I think the highlight of my trip to Lisbon was getting a coffee and a pastel at the bakery in Belem. :) Hope you manage to get to Portugal for a visit sometime soon, as it's a lovely place.

BTW, as I understand it "Hieromymites" is the English name for the Jeronimos. Definitely the same place.

Bonnie said...

looks great. I went to the web site and printed the receipe. I will make it and tell you how everyone likes it.

Anonymous said...

These egg tarts look absolutely scrumptious! Looking forward to trying soon!

Anonymous said...

These egg tarts look absolutely scrumptious! Looking forward to trying soon!

Jessie said...

cute tarts they look really good!

Theresa H. Hall said...

Really nice photos and recipe. I shall give them a go. they should be a big hit.

Anonymous said...

I love Portuguese egg tarts! I also make them with puff pastry. Lovely photos!

Cookin' Canuck said...

What an interesting post! I can't wait to try these.

CaptnRachel aka Tha Pizza Cutta said...

thanks for the lesson on those delicious egg custard tarts! I shared this with a Brazilian co-worker who also thanks you!

itookmyprozac said...

Thanks for teaching me something new. I am always interested in learning about the culture of my ancestors (my great grandparents were Portuguese )

Rochelle said...

pegasuslegend - They are great, should definitely try them sometime :)

tastyeatsathome - Thank you! I love learning about where things came from and thought some others would enjoy a little history lesson to :)

Stacy - Thank you!

Polka_Roo - Thank you for clarifying that my information was correct! And yes I want to visit soon, I plan on doing the same thing with coffee and a tart :)

Mom - I'll find out when I give you a call! I'm sure you, the kids and my sis will love them!

5 Star Foodie - Thank you! Let me know how yours turn out.

Jessie - Thank you :)

Theresa H. Hall - Thanks! I'm sure they will be a hit, if my little picky eater likes them almost anyone will :)

Ellie - I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one that enjoys the puff pastry route! They do make them light and airy and even with the heavy cream, they don't seem as rich with that type of crust.

Cookin' Canuck - I'm glad you liked it :)

CaptnRachel aka Tha Pizza Cutta - You both are most welcome. I have to ask you to ask your co-worker as my hubby wasn't positive, but are they as popular in Brazil as they are in Portugal?

itookmyprozac - I'm glad you learned something about your heritage. I also love to learn things about where we come from and about what/why our ancestors passed these things down to each other. It's a great way to see where some of the things in our own culture has originated :)

Divina Pe said...

Thanks for the history lessons. It's amazing how food evolved to become what they are now. I think I've tasted that one before but I can't remember where. But it sure is an excellent tart.

Ana said...

Hello Rochelle!

I'm portuguese, as your husband ;) and I live near Oporto (hhmmm... Oporto wine eheh).

I could'nt help to make a correction because in sites like wikipedia and in lots of webites, at least those in english, have a misconception! "Pasteis de Nata" are not the same as "Pasteis de Belém"... they even taste different!!

The main difference is that, Pasteis de Nata have heavy cream as one of the ingredients ("Nata" is the portuguese word for "heavy cream"); "Pasteis de Belem" don't have heavy cream, they're only made with egg yolks and the other ingredients!

I know these pastries look alike, but they're in fact different! Trust me, if you taste the 2 of them you'll notice the difference very well!

Here in Portugal you can only eat "Pasteis de Belem" in Lisbon, near the Jeronimos, as you mentioned, because they have a secret and special recipe and way of making them :) although you can eat "Pasteis de Nata", literally anywhere in Portugal, from north to south, west to east! :)

I hope some day you'll have the opportunity to try both! eheh

Best Wishes,
Ana Rocha

Rochelle said...

Divina - Thank you! If you get the chance to have them or make them I think you will love them :)

Ana - Thank you for clarifying that! My hubby made sure to let me know that too when I was writing the post. I did notice quite a few sites made them sound like they were the same thing just different names.

I was trying to make it understood they weren't the same, but I can see how people might misconstrue it to be the same thing. :)

Bonnie said...

when I made these the 13 year old "grandma when are you going to make these again" I think she must have liked them.