Portuguese Custard

Want to have a taste of the delectable Portuguese Custard as it oozes into your mouth? Find out about this mouthwatering Portuguese treat. Read our guide for more facts & information…

There are over a hundred different recipes and variations of custard – tarts, pies, and cakes – as it is loved and preferred the world over by food lovers as the dessert of choice. The basic mixture of custard that consists of milk or cream, egg yolk, and sugar vary in texture as it may be used as a thin pouring sauce to a thicker éclair cream.

Portuguese Custard: Pastel de Nata

Custard comes in many different forms and one of the world renowned variations is the Portuguese Custard Tart. The Pastel de Nata is a crème brûlée-like custard form that throughout centuries has been altered here and there by bakers but in spite of this has still maintained its popularity in and outside Portugal. It is believed that Portuguese tarts originated from Belem or Santa Maria de Belem, a parish in Lisbon, the country’s capital. The pastries were created by nuns at the Jeronimos Monastery in the 18th century and were originally called Pasteis de Belem (pasteis is the plural form of the Portuguese word pastel). Some years later, Casa Pastéis de Belém, the first shop to sell the pasteis, was set up by clerics as they needed money for the institution. Tourists then began to flock to the bake shop to get the tarts even if they had to wait in line for hours. The fame of the tarts spread to other countries or places with Portuguese denominations such as Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, and Cape Verde in Africa, and East Timor, Goa, and Macau in Asia.  In the late 1990’s the tarts were made popular by bakery franchises in other Asian countries and places like Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. In 2006, the dessert was chosen to represent Portugal in the 2006 Europe Day event.

You Can Have Your Custard and Eat It Too

When baking your Portuguese dessert, remember to slowly heat the milk and eggs. You would not want to ruin the texture of your custard mix. Do not forget to place a plastic wrap or parchment paper to cover the surface of the newly cooked custard’s container or bowl as you let the mixture cool down. You wouldn’t want a skim to form. Bake the tarts for 20 to 25 minutes or until the tarts are golden. Many would like the top or sides to be somewhat golden brown or slightly burnt.

Pasteis de Nata are served warm or cold, and normally sprinkled with cinnamon on top. They are a scrumptious addition to tea, fresh fruit juice, or coffee, and may be served for breakfast or dessert after a delightful meal.

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