Pastéis de Nata by Mlle. M Bakes
A True Taste of Lisbon
Known singly as pastel de nata, Portuguese egg tarts boast flaky puff pastry and yolk custard filling, baked at high heat to give them their signature shine and brown-black leopard spots.
TASTING NOTES FROM THE CURATOR
Mlle. M laminates and rolls the butter-rich pastry dough for these tarts by hand. The logs of dough are then portioned out and pressed down and up along the sides of individual molds before the creamy, yolky filling is poured in. The molds go straight into an oven at the hottest possible temperature to flash-bake until they are golden brown on the outside and the custard turns shiny and burn-spotted. The resulting tarts are crisp, flaky, and buttery with delicately smooth and rich custard in the center.
PREPARATION OR PAIRINGS
This is a treat that pairs well with good, strong coffee. In particular, your boldest espresso. Have it with our Vittoria Espresso Ground Coffee. And of course, to enjoy your pastéis at its absolute best, sprinkle a bit (or a lot) of icing sugar and cinnamon right over its warm, custardy top!
BELÉM’S BEST-KEPT SECRET
Egg tarts come in many forms around the world, but the first Portuguese ones were originally created by 18th-century Hieronymite monks in the Belém district of Lisbon to help keep their monastery open. The monastery was eventually closed in 1834, and the monks sold their tart recipe to a nearby sugar refinery. That refinery rebranded itself as the Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém and produces thousands of egg tarts a day using the same close-guarded recipe they inherited from the monks. Only they can call their tarts Pastéis de Belém. All other egg tarts made in Lisbon, even the versions brought to Macau, Canada, and elsewhere in the world, are called pastéis de nata—and it is the originals in Belém to which they all aspire!
Your baked goods are best consumed as soon as you receive them, but in case you do have leftovers, you may store your pastéis in an airtight container at room temperature (20 to 25°C) overnight. You can keep them in the refrigerator another 2 days.
To reheat, pop them in the oven for 7 to 10 minutes at 175°C. Alternatively, put them in a high-heat toaster oven for 6 minutes. Do not reheat these tarts in a microwave.