9 Delicious Traditional Portuguese Pastries (with recipes)

Pasteis de Nata / Pasteis de Belém

Portugal is not only known for the good weather and beautiful beaches, but also for the mediterranean gastronomy, its pastry, and confectionery.

In particular, traditional pastries are an example of excellence in the design and presentation of these foods and here Portugal is also an example of recognition for the quality and presentation of these delicious cakes and pastries.

From north to south of the country history and traditions are the clearest example of the best that is passed down from generation to generation.

The recipes, the flavors and the secrets that mark the quality and that make the history of the quality of the products that each region presents elevate and transport them for huge satisfaction.

For these reasons, you can not fail to taste these delicious regional sweets that I present here.

Pastel de Nata

If you are visiting Lisbon you need to try one of the best and known Portuguese sweets.

The “Pastel de Nata”, also known as the “Pastel de Belém” began to be sold in a small pastry shop at the door of the “Mosteiros dos Jeronimos” in Belém to earn money. This pastry still exists today and is called “Pastéis de Belém”.

The secret recipe from the monastery, remains the same until today and is exclusive to Pastry Pastéis de Belém.

But this is not the only pastry shop in Lisbon where you can taste these delicious cream pastries. Manteigaria’s recipe is tasty.

Ingredients:

  • 600g fresh dough
  • 500ml milk
  • 450g sugar
  • 250ml water
  • 60g unleavened wheat flour
  • 1 lemon peel
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 7 egg yolks

Preparation:

  1. Roll the dough into a rectangle using the dough roller.
  2. Cut the dough into slices with a thickness of 2 cm, you can use the mouth of a glass to measure.
  3. Place the slices inside the shapes of the buttered pastry and press with your fingers against the side.
  4. Dissolve the flour in a little milk and put the rest on the fire, add the cinnamon stick and the lemon peel. When it is boiling, add the flour and stir well.
  5. Put sugar and water in a pot and bring to the heat. Bring to a boil and add sugar syrup to milk and mix well.
  6. Strain everything in a pan and let cool.
  7. Add the egg yolks with the cream and stir well.
  8. Fill the forms with the cream and bake in the preheated oven at 240º for 20 minutes.

Queijadas de Sintra

“Queijadas de Sintra” is a traditional pastry whose first references occur in the 11th century in the region of Sintra.

According to history, this pastry was widely used in the medieval era as a means of payment. Its mass production is given from the  eighteenth century by the hand of a lady with the name Maria Sapa, Ranholas

The fame of this little cake has made it very famous and its industrialization took place from the 19th century.

Ingredients for the pasta:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 pinch of fine salt
  • 120 ml of water
  • 350 g of wheat flour
  • 75 g of butter

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of fine salt
  • 1,5 tablespoons of wheat flour
  • 160 g sugar
  • 4 fresh cheese
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 80 g melted butter
  • half lemon zest

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 ° C.
  2. To make the crunchiness, add the flour, salt, butter and knead the mixture with your hands. Add the egg and water and continue to knead.
  3. Extend the dough with a cookie sheet on a flat surface and sprinkled with flour until it is thin.
  4. Cut 12 circles into the dough and line the cheesecloth shapes splashed with water. Reserve.
  5. To make the filling, lightly crush fresh cheeses with your fingers and then pour them into a bowl. Add the sugar, salt, lemon zest, and cinnamon. Then add the egg yolks and the melted butter. Mix until homogeneous.
  6. Distribute by the forms and bake for approximately 25 minutes.
  7. Finally, just let it cool and uniform. You can serve Sintra’s warm or cold cheeses.

Travesseiros de Sintra

The “Travesseiro de Sintra” is a small cake made with puff pastry, eggs, and almonds that had its origin in Sintra in an old bakery that today has the name Piriquita (https://www.piriquita.pt/) in 1862.

The making of this cake was promoted by King D. Carlos I who placed the nickname “Periquita” to Constância Gomes, baker’s Amaro dos Santos wife, due to his small stature.

Ingredients:

  • 400 gr of puff pastry
  • 400g of sugar
  • 1 dl of water
  • 180 gr of almond crushed without skin
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 4 egg yolks
  • flour and sugar to sprinkle

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220º C.
  2. Defrost the dough and in the meantime mix the water with the sugar and bring to the point until the wire point is reached.
  3. Mix with a fork the almond, cinnamon and egg yolks and add to the previous preparation.
  4. Add to the previous preparation and bring to the heat, stirring until thick.
  5. Extend the puff pastry on a surface sprinkled with flour and cut into rectangles.
  6. In each rectangle, place 1 spoon (dessert) of filling, spreading it in the width direction, without reaching the edges of the dough.
  7. Fold the dough in three by pressing the tips and place in a tray dusted with flour.
  8. Take a half oven for 20 minutes.
  9. Remove and sprinkle with sugar.

Ovos Moles de Aveiro

This is a regional sweet from ​​Aveiro region whose initial production took place in convents existing until the 19th century.

As the name implies, the base of this small and delicious cake is egg-shaped, presenting as a wafer that serves as a shell to the filling, and is found in the form of shells or fish.

Ingredients:

  • 8 egg yolks
  • 150gr sugar
  • 150ml water
  • 2 sheets of wafer

Preparation:

  1. Put the water, egg yolks, and sugar in a pot and bring to the boil, stirring constantly until the cream is thick. Let cool.
  2. Pour small portions of the egg cream, already cold, into 2 leaves of the wafer and with a knife, spread the cream to fill the spaces between the molds.
  3. Sweep the molds of the other wafer sheets and place them over the previous ones.
  4. Trim the filled wafer molds.

Torta de Azeitão

The “Torta de Azeitão” has its origin in Fronteira, in Alentejo, but its recipe was brought to Azeitão by Manuel Rodrigues with the nickname “O Cego”.

His wife and daughter began their conception and commercialization and thus the “O Cego” pastry was founded in Azeitão.

These delicacies made with egg and with a slight flavor of lemon and cinnamon, are one of the icons representatives of this region and are an example of traditional Portuguese sweets.

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 180gr of sugar
  • 50gr of flour
  • 10 eggs (egg yolks separated)
  • half lemon zest (optional)
  • butter (to sprinkle)

Ingredients for the sweet of eggs:

  • 180ml of water
  • 90gr of sugar
  • 6 egg yolks

Preparation:

  1. For the dough:
    1. Separate the egg white and egg yolks from the 10 eggs.
    2. In a bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until thick cream.
    3. Add the cornstarch and beat only the time required to wrap it.
    4. In another bowl, beat the egg whites firmly and wrap them gently in the previous preparation.
    5. Pour the dough into a buttered pan, spreading it well until it is thin.
    6. Leave it to stand for about 10 minutes and then turn the oven to 220 ° C.
  2. Bring the dough to a boil in a hot oven, about 15 minutes. Check the cooking, taking into account that the tarts of Azeitão should look rather raw, totally yellowish.
  3. For the sweet of eggs:
    1. Take a pot on the fire with the water and the sugar and boil until obtaining point of wire (the syrup sticks slightly to the spoon and, when taking away a little, it is formed a thread with which they can do shapes on a smooth surface).
    2. Apart, beat the gems well.
    3. Remove the syrup from the heat and mix the egg yolks, stirring vigorously.
    4. Bring egg pudding to the heat to thicken.
  4. Remove the dough still warm and place it on a clean cloth, on a smooth surface. Sweep it with egg candy and, on top of it, pour some cinnamon.
  5. Wrap the dough with the help of the cloth, giving it the shape of a pie. Cut into strips about 8 cm in length.

Tip: Traditionally, the pie is cut into strips of about 8cm but if you prefer, you can keep it as a large pie.

Pastel de Tentúgal

The “Pastel de Tentúgal” as its name indicates, had its origin in a small town in the center of Portugal with the same name and its recipe is known since the end of the 16th century.

It is a confectionery whose filling is made with egg yolk and sugar syrup and is presented in the form of a toothpick.

Ingredients:

  • 250 g of sugar
  • 150 g of almond kernels,
  • 200 ml of water
  • 14 egg yolks
  • 8 sheets of pasta
  • Melted butter
  • Powdered sugar

Preparation:

  1. Put 200 ml of water in a saucepan and add the sugar with the egg yolks and bring to the boil. stirring constantly until thick.
  2. Remove into a bowl, add the almond and let cool.
  3. Cut the sheets of pasta into four pieces and brush them with melted butter.
  4. Overlap the 4 parts of each sheet, arrange a little of the previous preparation in the center and roll up.
  5. Fold the sides up and place on a tray.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven at 200ºc until golden brown.
  7. Remove from the oven, let cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Bola de Berlim

The famous “Bola de Berlim” is a cake that was originated in Germany and came to Portugal during World War II, brought by the German Jewish families who took refuge in the country after the war.

The original filling is based on red berries which have been gradually replaced with sweet egg-based cream.

It is a seasonal cake that has its high season in the summer, particularly on the beaches where sellers sell the balls with many different fillings.

Ingredients:

  • 450 gr wheat flour
  • 70 gr butter
  • 30 g baking powder
  • 1 kg of sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 dl milk
  • 1 lemon zest
  • 1 pinch salt

Preparation:

  1. Remove the baker’s yeast with a little milk and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Mix well and let it rise to room temperature for about 30 minutes.
  2. Sift the flour into a bowl and make a hole in the middle and pour the yeast mixture that had been leavening into the hole.
  3. Add the milk, sugar, butter, egg yolks, salt, lemon zest and knead the dough.
  4. Let it rise again for about 30 to 40 minutes.
  5. Extend the dough on a floured worktop with the dough roll so that it is about 2 cm high and cut rounds about 8 cm in diameter.
  6. Let it rise a little longer then fry them in hot oil for about 10 minutes.
  7. Drain and sprinkle with sugar while still warm.
  8. Fill with pastry cream.

Toucinho do Céu

The “Toucinho do Céu” is a delicious traditional dessert based on eggs and sugar with convent origin that is manufactured in all regions of Portugal.

This dessert became known from the XIX when it became a national sweet.

According to history, this cake had its origin in the region of Murça to the north of Portugal.

Ingredients:

  • 450 g sugar
  • 250 g almond kernel
  • 60 g fine flour
  • 50 g butter
  • 3 egg whites
  • 9 egg yolks
  • 2.5 dl water

Preparation:

  1. Heat the oven to 180° C.
  2. Grease with butter and line with parchment paper.
  3. Put the water in a saucepan and bring to the boil with sugar until it becomes a pearl point.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Add the ground almonds, the yolks mixed with the egg whites and the flour, always stirring very well.
  5. Bring to the boil again, add the butter and stir without boiling.
  6. Wait for it to cool and pour over form. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Pastel de Feijão

The “Pastel de Feijão” is a typical sweet made in the region of Torres Vedras since the end of the 19th century.

Its composition is based on white beans, sugar, egg yolk and almonds. The original author of the recipe is Joaquina Rodrigues, a local resident who served at home to his family and friends this delicious cake.

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 250 g wheat flour
  • 150 ml of water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pinch of salt

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 250 g sugar
  • 50 g white cooked beans
  • 60 g almond kernel
  • 6 eggs

Preparation:

  1. Put the flour on the countertop, open a cavity in the center, add salt, melted butter, and water, mix well and store in the cold.
  2. For the filling, put the sugar in a pot, add 150 ml of water and boil for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the beans and almond kernels, turn off the heat and remove the mixture into a bowl.
  4. Add the beaten eggs, stir and let cool.
  5. Spread the dough with the roll and sprinkle with flour.
  6. Line the dough into small forms, fill with the beans, sprinkle with powdered sugar and bake in a preheated oven at 180º for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove, let cool slightly and serve cold.

Conclusion

With this list of delicious regional pastries, you will not miss ideas for your dessert or your snack.

These are some of the examples that Portugal has to show and which illustrate the enormous variety in regional confectionery.

If you are visiting Portugal, enjoy and go to a pastry shop and try one of these tasty pastries or sweets.

You won’t regret.

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