Enjoy the centuries-old 'Pastel de Nata' tradition at your home or share it with your friends!
At Nata Bakery, we handcraft the original Portuguese tarts (or 'Nata' as Portuguese abbreviate it), following a time-tested traditional recipe.
A Portuguese tradition, a World delicacy
Portuguese tarts are the result of a perfect balance between high baking temperatures required by puff pastry and the gentle cooking necessary for the creamy filling.
Tradition says that Portuguese tarts are best enjoyed warm and crispy, with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
The History of Portuguese tarts
As with so many traditional Portuguese desserts, legend tells that the Portuguese tart was invented in a monastery.
The story of Portuguese traditional egg-based desserts goes back to the 16th century. At that time, the religious orders of Portuguese convents and monasteries used egg whites to make the sacramental wafer handed to the faithful during mass, to starch their religious robes and also to clarify the sacramental wine used by priests during mass. This intensive use of egg whites resulted in a great amount of egg yolks and, so as not to waste them, Portuguese nuns recreated ancestral recipes and invented new desserts, to which they added dried fruits and almonds.
A few centuries later, around 1837, in the Belém neighbourhood of Lisbon, the monks of the Jerónimos Monastery, in an effort to gather funds to ensure their subsistence, opened a small shop next to the monastery selling “Pasteis de Belém” (Belém tarts). It is said that tourists visiting the Jerónimos Monastery and the Belém Tower tasted these small delicacies and were so captivated by their flavour that soon Belém tarts became well known. It was then that, realising their discovery, the monks started a long tradition that prevails to our days of keeping their recipe a secret. Today only one shop in Portugal sells “Belém tarts”.
But the fame of this tart extended across the country and soon a recipe was created for a similar tart that was called “Pastel de Nata”, since cream or “nata” was the base ingredient. The recipe being no longer secret, Portuguese tarts made their way across most bakeries in Portugal and became a national favourite delicacy.
Nowadays, this tasty traditional Portuguese pastry is widely appreciated and can be found in many countries throughout the world.
Enjoy it, the Portuguese way
1. Warm the 'Natas' up a little (5 minutes at 150C) in a toaster oven.
2. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
3. Pour yourself a nice cup of coffee (espresso if you want the total Portuguese experience) or tea.
4. Sit back and enjoy the combination of flavours. Close your eyes and imagine you're enjoying the warm sun at a quaint esplanade set in the cobblestoned streets of old Portugal, the sky is blue and you're happy!
And you can even freeze them for up to 1 month and just bake them for 15minutes at 150C straight out of the freezer for a perfect 'Nata' anytime!