A Sweet Taste of Portugal: Pastel de Nata

Pastel de Nata is a Portuguese custard tart that is extremely popular throughout Portugal and in countries and communities with significant Portuguese immigrant populations and those influenced by Portuguese culture and history. They were first made before the 18th century by monks at the Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon.

When in Lisbon, we didn’t get a chance to try Pastel de Nata at the famous Pastéis de Belém, where they’ve been making them (with a secret recipe, it’s said) since 1837, but we enjoyed them at every opportunity before and during our Viking cruise on the Douro River. I’m grateful to our friend Mary who writes about family travel at The World is a Book who took the photos below when she visited Lisbon and indulged in them. Mouth-watering, aren’t they?

Pastel de Nata egg custard pastries at Pastéis de Belém in Lisbon -- Photos courtesy of Mary Penafiel Solio, The World is a Book

Pastel de Nata egg custard pastries at Pastéis de Belém in Lisbon — Photos courtesy of Mary Penafiel Solio, The World is a Book

Put on your apron

On board the Viking Hemming ship for our cruise on the Douro River, we were treated to a cooking demonstration and delicious tasting by Executive Chef Carlos Silva. I was particularly delighted that he gave each of us his recipe for these delectable pastries. So I’m going to share it with you, too. Let us know if you make them!

Chef Carlos

Pastel de Nata Recipe


  • 1 (500g) packet puff pastry
  • 225ml (8 fl oz) milk
  • 3 tablespoons plain flour or 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 200g (7 oz) granulated sugar
  • ½ vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 egg yolks


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F/190 C. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin and line bottom and sides of cups with puff pastry.
  2. In a saucepan, combine milk, corn flour, sugar, egg yolks and vanilla.
  3. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes, or until thickened. Remove vanilla bean.
  4. Fill pastry-lined muffin tin with mixture and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is lightly browned on top.
 Thank you, Chef Carlos and Viking River Cruises!

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4 thoughts on “A Sweet Taste of Portugal: Pastel de Nata

  1. Pingback: Cruising Portugal's River of Gold: Our Favorite Things - Traveling with Sweeney

  2. Leigh

    Years ago I biked in northern Portugal and the standout memory in regards to food were all the delicious desserts with a custard base. This looks equally amazing – and not too difficult to make.

  3. Pingback: Prelude to a Cruise: 7 Lisbon Highlights - Traveling with Sweeney

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