Pastel de Nata is the most popular Portuguese pastry.

Each bakery has its own pastry recipe, that differs only very subtly from one another. Nonetheless, the average Portuguese has a highly trained palate and eye for telling one from another. And I suspect, even just by the scent in the air outside the bakeries.

The best Pastel de Nata has a perfectly balanced vanilla, lemon and cinnamon filling. This is a soft, somewhat runny, warm custard. The mouthwatering goodness of each little Portuguese pastry is held together in a thin, flaky pastry cup.

Tricky, is managing the dilemma of eating the whole Nata at once, in a really big mouthful; or, biting through the pastry skin. By doing that, though, you may disturb the beautiful, natural order of things – squeezing the inside out. The good news is that, you can always use your coffee spoon to scoop your custard out before you crack on the pastry. And, that is, of course, what locals often do.

The Best Portuguese pastry Pastel de Nata

In pursuit of perfection, and public recognition for their brand, bakeries in Lisbon compete for the title of best Pastel de Nata. Every year, pastry chefs happily volunteer to participate in this annual, fiercely competition. The judges carefully evaluate and compare the recipes against one another.

Even though the evaluation is done by an expert panel, including a pastry chef, an oenologist, and an historian, they still take several days to reach a verdict! My point is: how could I not find it difficult to pick just one?!

The last year’s best Pastel de Nata is from our local pastry in Ericeira, the town that is also in the spotlight as the surf capital of Europe. The bakery in case is Paozinho das Marias and has two shops is the heart of the town, one of which by the seaside. The best Pastel de Nata 2017 can be yours for only € 1,10, whichever view you choose.

The current best Pastel de Nata, is from central Lisbon. This time, the title goes to a fish and seafood restaurant, Mercado do Peixe, instead of a bakery. Now, we can enjoy our favorite pastry as a pudding.

But, what about the legendary Pastel de Belem?  Is it the same as the Pastel de Nata? Find out here!

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