Pastel de Belem, a treat of the Portuguese pastry
Pastel de Belem is an unforgetable treat, that can only be found at Antiga Confeitaria de Belem, a pastry shop by Hieronymites monastery.
The aroma when the waiter serves you a pastel de Belem is the first thing to take over your senses; then, when you take the first bite it feels like heaven on hearth! Don’t believe me? If not is because you haven’t tasted a pastel de Belem yet.
Prepare your senses for the Pastel de Belem
These small tarts combine perfectly a shell of hundred crisp layers, made from massa folhada, a pastry similar to the French puff pastry, with a warm custard that conquers even the most demanding palate. For the final touch you just have to sprinkle your pastel de Belem with cinnamon and powdered sugar. And that’s it: you become addicted. One, two or even three pastel de Belem won’t be enough.
A delicacy with history
The recipe of this delicacy is the precious secret of Antiga Confeitaria de Belem, a pastry shop near Hieronymites monastery, owned by the same family for centuries. This proximity is no coincidence as the pastel de Belem were originally baked inside the monastery walls until the 19th century when a liberal revolution took place, shuttering the religious orders activities. This gave Domingo Rafael Alves the opportunity to buy the recipe and in 1837 he began to confection pastel de Belem at his sundries shop. The success achieved, that lead him to specialize in them, continued throughout the years and nowadays people still line up to buy this treat.
Photo by korrey
Even though you can find a similar sweet all over Portugal, and even abroad, called pastel de nata, the uniqueness of the pastel de Belem is well protected. Not only the owners of Antiga Confeitaria de Belem registered the name in 1911, assuring that only the tarts baked here can be called pastel de Belem, but also the real recipe is known by only three persons; when a new master baker is needed, he is always selected from inside the company and is required to be working there for at least 25 years. Before he takes knowledge of the recipe, he must sign a confidentiality contract and make an oath, stating he will never reveal the recipe of this sweet delight. So, as you can see, if you are looking for the real MacCoy, Antiga Confeitaria de Belem is your destiny. Only here you will find a true pastel de Belem.