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How to Make Portuguese Custard Tarts

Portuguese Custard Tarts Recipe

Pasteis de nata

Pasteis de Belem is essentially egg custard tarts. The thick outer is a rich buttery puff pastry that holds a dollop of smooth, creamy egg custard. The top of the custard is caramelized, which gives the tart its spotted look, then dusted with cinnamon and icing sugar.

Pastel de Nata’s History

In the 1600s, egg whites were used to starch the clothing of the nuns and friars. The result was a huge quantity of egg yolks leftover. What to do? Sweet dessert. The monks and nuns always sold desserts in the convents and monasteries.

The monks created the custard tarts in the famous Jeronimos Monastery, Lisbon.

After the civil war and liberal revolution (1834), the monasteries and convents in Portugal were shut down, the clergy and laborers were expelled. The monks sold the recipe to a local sugar refinery.

In 1837, the store Pasteis de Belem began to sell this amazing sweet pastry. This store is open till nowadays.

You can currently eat this sweet pastry in New York, London, Macau, Rio de Janeiro, etc.

What does pastel mean?

It means pastry. In Portuguese, one pastry is pastel. Two is pasteis. We don’t change the following words. The correct is pasteis de nata.

Read more: Best Time to Visit Portugal.

What does Nata mean?

It means cream.

What is the diferença entre pastel de nata e pasteis de belem?

None! Pasteis de Belem is a brand. The first store was opened in Belem, a neighborhood in Lisbon. Pastel de Nata is a pastry name in Portuguese.

In my opinion, the pastry in the story Pasteis de Belem has more butter in the puff pastry, and the cream has a soft flavor of lemon. For other pastries in the north of Portugal, the cream is thick.

portuguese custard tarts

How to order one Portuguese custard tart and coffee in Lisbon?

Um pastel de nata e uma bica, por favor.

Read here, Eat Like Local in Portugal. Find the tip here.

How many calories are in a Portuguese custard tart?

One tart has 250 calories.

Can you freeze pastel de nata?

Yes, you freeze egg tart. However, the tart quality will not be the same! You will not have a crunchy dough.

Read more: Best Things to Eat in Portugal?

Where to buy Portuguese Tarts

What are the best places for eating custard tarts?

Lisbon: Manteigaria, Pastelaria Santo Antonio and Nata Lisboa.

Porto: Nata Lisboa and Manteigaria.

Outside of Portugal, you can buy Portuguese custard.

UK: Cafe de Nata.

USA: Joey Bats Cafe.

Australia: Round Bird.

Easy Recipe Pastel de Natas


Three sheets of puff pastry. You can buy it in the supermarket.

Margarine to spread the forms

150 gr. butter without salt

For cream:

500 ml of milk

One lemon peel

One cinnamon stick

60 gr. cake flour

500 gr. sugar

250 ml of water

Seven egg yolks


In a pan, boil the milk with a cinnamon stick and lemon peel.

In a mixing bowl (with the help of rods), mix the eggs and flour.

Add it into the pan with the previous mixture, continuously mix, and heat very slowly.

In another pan, boil the water and sugar for 3 minutes. After boiling and always mixing, gently put everything in the first pan and allow it to stand.

Meanwhile, smear the muffin cup (in aluminum. Please don’t use silicon) with margarine.

Extend the puff pastry and butter with a kitchen roll and wrap up the most power in the cylinder. My tips: If you add more butter, the pastry will be brittle and crisp. That is optional. You can add 50 gr per sheet of puff pastry.

Curl the puff pastry again. Cut into 3 cm pieces and place them in the form using your thumb finger (circular movements). Press your thumb into the center of the swirl.

Fill each cup 3/4 of the way with custard.

And it takes the preheated oven at 250º C for 20 minutes.

Bake until the pastry is browned and bubbly, and the tops start blasting and caramelizing. Cool tarts briefly and serve warm with cinnamon powder and powdered sugar.

Read more: How can I get to Portugal?

Why don’t we use vanilla in this recipe?

You don’t need to use vanilla because the cinnamon cuts the eggs’ smell.

Read more: Eat like a local in Portugal.

Are you looking for a gluten-free pastry in Portugal?

Please send us an email. We will help you.

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Are you in Lisbon or Porto for a few days? Taste the best food in Portugal! A Food Tour that Combines Walking, Culture, and Portuguese Cuisine. Intense 8-day of Food Tours in Portugal for the epicure, including hotels, transportation, Port wine tasting, cooking classes, a guide, and more!

You will visit pastries, farms, and local food stores to teach you how to taste and enjoy real Portuguese food!
We will cook this special bread! But in a traditional kitchen.

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