Portuguese Custard Tarts

Pastéis de nata are custard tarts with a rich egg custard nestled in shatteringly crisp pastry.

October 17, 2022


The recipe for this country favorite dates back over 300 years to Belém, Lisbon. Pastéis de nata were created by monks in the Jerónimos Monastery, located in Belém, Lisbon. The monks began selling pastéis de nata when the need erupted for income to support the monastery. When the monastery eventually closed in 1834, the recipe was sold to the eventual owners of the Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém, which opened in 1837 and is still the most popular place to buy them around Lisbon.

A symbol of Portugal

Only the custard tarts produced at the Fábrica Pastéis de Belém can be called pastel de Belém, while all the others, produced by other patisseries in Lisbon are called pastel de nata. Regardless of the name, these tarts can be served hot or cold. In 2009, The Guardian listed pastel de Belém as one of the 50 ‘best things to eat’ in the world.