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Belém tarts

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A pastel de nata (plural: pastéis de nata), or pastel de Belém; (plural: pastéis de Belém) is a Portuguese egg tart pastry.

A pastel de nata or pastel de Belém is a Portuguese egg tart pastry. They are common in Portugal, the Lusosphere — Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, Guinea-Bissau, Timor-Leste, Goa, and Macau — and countries with significant Portuguese populations, such as Canada, Australia, Luxembourg, the United States, and France, among others.


It is believed that pastéis de natas was created before the 18th century by Catholic nuns at the Jerónimos Monastery of Belém, in Lisbon. The Casa Pastéis de Belém in Lisbon was the first place outside the convent selling the original creamy dessert, after the monastery was closed in 1820s, and there they are called pastéis de Belém, after the name of the area and its famous bakery. Since 1837, locals have gone there to get them warm out of the oven and sprinkled with the cinnamon and powdered sugar. These are very popular, with tourists literally waiting hours for them.

The ingredient of the Belém tarts are cornstarch, cream, whole milk, sugar, egg yolks, cassia or cinnamon stick, lemon peel, vanilla extract and salt. The ingredients are mixed and baked. The recipe has, over generations, received some alteration by various pastelarias (cake shops) and padarias (bakeries) throughout Portugal. One of these methods includes making the custard in a bain-marie (a bowl over boiling water) rather than combining all the ingredients at once in a saucepan, although some prefer the cream slightly "curdled" to give it a rustic appearance and an unusual texture.

It was the confection chosen to represent Portugal in the Café Europe initiative of the Austrian presidency of the European Union, on Europe Day 2006.

It has since become available at numerous bakeries and Macau-style restaurants as well as Hong Kong and Mainland China branches of the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant chain. Portuguese-style egg tarts became popular in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Thailand in the late 1990s, popularized by franchises such as Lord Stow's bakery.

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