Pastel de nata
|Alternative names||Pastel de Belém|
Pastries of Bethlehem
|Place of origin||Portugal|
|Region or state||Saint Mary of Bethlehem, Lisbon (originally); produced worldwide within the Lusosphere|
|Created by||Religious of the Monastery of the Hieronymites|
|Serving temperature||Fresh from oven, with cinnamon and icing sugar|
|Main ingredients||Egg yolks|
|Variations||egg tart, custard tart|
|ca. 300 per 100 grams (3.5 oz) kcal|
Pastel de nata (Portuguese pronunciation: [pɐʃˈtɛɫ dɨ ˈnatɐ] (plural: pastéis de nata; [-ˈtɛjʃ-], [-ˈtɐjʃ-]) is a Portuguese egg custard tart pastry dusted with cinnamon. Outside Portugal, they are particularly popular in other parts of Western Europe, Asia and former Portuguese colonies, such as Brazil, Macau and East Timor. The Macanese pastel de nata was also adopted by KFC and is available in regions such as Hong Kong, Taiwan and China. In Indonesia, this pastry is especially popular in Kampung Tugu, Jakarta, a culturally Portuguese (Mardijker) enclave.
Pastéis de nata were created before the 18th century by Catholic monks at the Hieronymites Monastery (Portuguese: Mosteiro dos Jerónimos) in the civil parish of Saint Mary of Bethlehem, in Lisbon. At the time, convents and monasteries used large quantities of egg-whites for starching clothes, such as friars and nuns' religious habits. It was quite common for monasteries and convents to use the leftover egg yolks to make cakes and pastries, resulting in the proliferation of sweet pastry recipes throughout the country.
In the aftermath of the Liberal Revolution of 1820, following the dissolution of religious orders and in the face of the impending closure of many convents and monasteries, the monks started selling pastéis de nata at a nearby sugar refinery to bring in revenue. In 1834, the monastery was closed and the recipe sold to the sugar refinery, whose owners in 1837 opened the Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém. The descendants own the business to this day.
Since the opening of Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém, the original recipe of the pastel de nata is kept in a secret room. The recipe remains unchanged to this day and is known by only a few. The Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém, remains the most popular place to buy pastéis de nata around Lisbon. The shop is located just a short three-minute walk from the Jerónimos Monastery.  The shop offers both take out and sit in services and sells over 20,000 pastéis de nata a day. Usually the tart is sprinkled with canela (cinnamon), and often accompanied with a bica, (a strong espresso coffee).
In 2011, following the result of a public vote. Pastel de Belem was announced one of Portugal’s Seven Wonders of Gastronomy. Cementing itself as one of the countries most popular national dishes.
The cuisine of Japan was heavily influenced by Portuguese traders during the 16th century. Notable Japanese baked goods including pan (パン) (from Portuguese pão, bread), and castella have their origins in this period. Pastel de nata is one of these. In addition to the traditional form of the pastry, some variations have been developed especially for the Japanese market by adding green tea flavoring. This green tea pastel de nata was eventually exported to South Korea and other Asian markets.
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- "3 KUDAPAN KHAS JAKARTA HASIL AKULTURASI BUDAYA". infobudaya.net (in Indonesian). 2017-09-18.
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- "175 anos de pastéis de Belém [175 years of pasteléis de Belém]". Correio da Manhã (in Portuguese). 12 August 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
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- Pastel de Nata wetravelportugal.com. Retrieved 24 April 2021.
- Swinnerton, Robbie (5 September 2009). "Take a little bite of Portugal's egg tart". London.
- Verbeke, Alain (ed.). Distance in International Business: Concept, Cost and Value.
- Merle, Dominick (11 August 2004), "There's history - and a secret - in every bite", The Christian Science Monitor, retrieved 23 April 2012
- Amaral, André; Pires, Carla; Castro e Silva, Daniel; Medeiros, Luís; André, Mário Rui (December 2011), O Segredo do Marketing dos Pastéis de Belém (in Portuguese), Lisbon, Portugal: Escola Superior de Comunicação Social, Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa, archived from the original (PDF) on 2013
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