Pasteis de Tentugal
Pasteis de Tentugal are a sweet delicacy made of thin and crusty dough, stuffed with egg custard, born in Tentúgal at a Carmelite convent.
Pasteis de Tentugal, as many other delicacies in Portugal, where born at a convent, namely at the convent of the Carmelites existing in Tentúgal, a small village near Coimbra. Following the tradition of the Portuguese pastry, this true gastronomic sin is baked with eggs. However, the secret of its recipe is the dough, very thin and confectioned only with water and flour, given the cake an unique and unforgettable texture. Trust me when I say that one won’t be enough!
Pasteis de Tentugal history
According to a popular tale, by the end of the XVI century a Carmelite nun wanted to give some Christmas presents at the children of the Tentúgal village, therefore, she decided to bake some treats made of an extra thin dough, stuffed with an egg and crisp almond custard. Later the almond was removed from the recipe, as it was a very expensive ingredient. The sweets were also offered to the convent benefactors and to some members of the Portuguese high society. Initially known as Pastéis do Convento (Convent cake) the cakes were praised by all and began to be baked all year round by the nuns. Every Sunday, after mass, they were sold at the convent door.
In 1834 Joaquim António de Aguiar (a Portuguese politician, three times head of the government during the XIX century) implemented the rules that put an end to the religious orders forcing the convent pastry to cross the walls of the convents and the recipes were passed on to non-religious.
In the case of Pasteis de Tentugal the recipe was taught to Maria da Conceição Faria, the owner of a guesthouse situated in Tentúgal, on the road between Coimbra and Figueira da Foz. She began commercializing the cakes under the name Pasteis de Tentugal, honoring the village, serving them as dessert at her restaurant. After the establishment of the 1st Republic in 1910, the road networks were developed and the first cars appeared. From 1920s to 1940s Pasteis de Tentugal became highly popular among the increasing number of guests of Maria da Conceição Inn. Most of them were students and professors at the Coimbra University who took Pasteis de Tentugal with them to other parts of the country when returning home after a school year.
Up to 1950s the guesthouse hold the exclusivity of the production of these cakes. By then another producer came along and the backing process became more industrialized and Maria da Conceição Inn closed doors during the early years of 1980s. Nowadays the production of Pasteis de Tentugal is the most important industry of area. Nevertheless, the main characteristics of these treats remain intact and Pasteis de Tentugal are still an irresistible temptation.