Pastéis de Belém

Maybe you’ve heard of these addicting world famous little Portuguese egg custard tarts..

If not..

Well. You’re missing out.

A flaky, buttery crust, delicate creamy custard with a characteristically rustic charred top  that is typically dusted in a thin layer of icing sugar and cinnamon. Served warm.

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I went to Portugal for 1 month in July of 2014 for a student exchange trip with 5 other lucky people from our Culinary Arts Program at NAIT. We traveled around Portugal as beautifully spoiled tourists for three weeks and each did a stage at separate restaurants/hotels for one week. Pretty good deal.

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An awesome opportunity both personally and professionally. We were treated like superstars with drivers/tour guides (who felt like family after the month), tours to wine cellars, vineyards, art galleries, a sea salt producer, an olive oil producer, a coffee factory/museum, historical sites, castles, and culinary schools (went to three! All very different).

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Also wine tastings…Lots of wine tastings. Before Portugal I did not like wine..

Three hour long dinners in the late evening (nine pm usually) full of various small courses with wine and all ending with desserts, espresso and chats.

 

 

Every where we visited from the North to the South of Portugal, Pasteis de Nata was a proudly evident dessert and tightly grasped secret recipe as a staple Portuguese dessert item.

When we arrived in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, our BFF “tour” guides took us on a special trip to the district of Belem just outside of Lisbon, where we were introduced to the adorable bakeshop where the tarts originated in 1837.

 

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This pretty little bakery was the origin of Pasteis de Nata and held the top secret family formula that has been passed down for four generations and is still famously known and redone around the world.  But only the tarts made at Antig Confeitaria de Belem can be called Pasteis de Belem, they are otherwise known as Pasteis de Nata.

Here is a brief history video as well as a look at the bakery cafe where they are made.

 

Each day they pop out about 10 000 of these pastries and there is a window while inside the cafe that lets you see the production area.

 

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With lines up and down the street on a typical day, it is still definitely worth the wait.

Went in to try one. Ending up buying six…for myself.

 

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Lisbon, Portugal - Belem Pasteis de Belem pastel de nata2 - Lisbon Airport car hire

It is baked in a oven that blasts up to 800 F for these little guys, or to make at home try and reach 550 F. They are not as easy as they look to make, with many variations on how it is done. I tried making my own of these and they turned not too bad but not nearly as good as the original. Of course.

Also my oven definitely doesn’t go up to 800 F to get the proper bake.

While at a tour in Portugal we went to a school in Lisbon where we watched as they prepared their version of this special tart for us.

And I got the recipe!

 

Pasteis de Nata

Masa Folhada – Puff Pastry

  • Bread FLour 55% – 1 kg
  • Water – 600 ml
  • Butter – 800g

Calda Da Acucar – Sugar Syrup

  • White Sugar – 1 kg
  • Water, room temp – 500ml
  • Lemon Peel – To taste or 1 lemon
  • Cinnamon Stick – 1

Creme

  • 1/2 and 1/2 Milk – 1L
  • Bread Flour – 55% – 150g
  • Maize Flour – 35g

Egg Mixture

  • Egg Yolks – 11
  • Whole Egg – 1

Directions

Puff Dough

(I don’t have great notes on how they made the puff dough!)

  1. Give 2 turns, brush with water after rolling out. 3/4 inch thick. Don’t chill.
  2. Cut little strips and roll up into a spiral and place in small  muffin tin molds. (They have special little tins made especially for these tarts in Portugal!)
  3. Wet thumb and with one smooth movement, press inside the spiral and spread the dough to the edges of the mold. Set aside.

(This picture doesn’t show how the dough was a little spiral that they placed inside then spread apart)

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Custard Filling

  1. Whisk flour and milk until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Bring sugar syrup to 100 C.
  3. Remove cinnamon stick and peel and  pour a thin stream, while whisking into the flour and milk mixture.
  4. Temper in the egg mixture. Strain, and set aside.

 

Baking

  1. Set oven to 550 F.
  2. Fill each pastry cup 3/4 full with the warm filling.
  3. Bake 8- 9 minutes until the tops are brown and slightly blackened. Cool slightly.
  4. EAT.

 

Serve with Port wine or coffee, a light dusting of icing sugar and or cinnamon while warm.

*Don’t get them at TNT, pastry is all wrong! Try Popular Bakery on 118th street to get the most authentic taste in Edmonton!

Happy Baking!

 

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Spencer

 

 

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Cobs Bread: My Practicum Experience

It’s been a hard two weeks. Getting up at three in the morning to work at Cobs Bread for my practicum was not at all easy. However, so worth it! Between juggling working at my current job in the evenings and working at Cobs in the night into the afternoon, I have never been so sleep deprived in my life. I learned so much about how a bakery works and about their products and what the company does for their employees, customers and the community.

Their products are all made from scratch, and baked fresh daily. From chocolate scones, to freshly baked breads and Danishes, the aroma alone was worth the few hours of sleep.

All the left over products that were not sold by the end of the night were given to the homeless shelter and food bank. I thought that was one of the nicest things a company could do for its community.

I got to learn how to use the “bread machine” to roll and cut the right size portions for various breads. I also got to use the machine that makes buns and scones which was a work out on its own, but made the process so much easier than rolling each piece of dough by hand.

I made cinnamon buns daily, which weren’t my favorite, but definitely a challenge that I felt like I got better at after making it each time.

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(http://www.cobsbread.com/what-we-bake/product-information/productdetails/prod-cinnamon_bun)

 I really enjoyed making one of their signature items, called, “Teatimes” which was a bread twist filled with raspberries and custard, cranberry and custard, coconut and lemon filling or apple with cinnamon-sugar. They are shaped a certain way and I think after the two weeks I got the hang of them and got a lot faster at making them.

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(http://www.cobsbread.com/what-we-bake/product-information/productdetails/prod-cranberry_custard_teatime)

Although, the hours were long, and the work load left me sore, and everything was super-fast paced I wouldn’t change it for anything. I do believe that my time management got a lot better, and throughout the two weeks I got a lot faster and making the products and making sure that the presentation and quality was acceptable.

I think my favorite part was getting to try everything that we would bake!

The owner of the store, Christian, was super nice, and made me feel like I was part of the team. He even offered me a job after my first week! I made a lot of new friends. They treated me like family and were also NAIT baking graduates. They always had the music blasted, and I never felt like I was going to work. It always felt like a party. The environment and the people were so nice and positive and always had good things to say. They encouraged me so much and I can’t thank them enough for all the support! I will miss my Cobs family dearly!

Thank you NAIT & Cobs Bread for the opportunity.

Feel free to check out their website and all the amazing products they have to offer!

http://www.cobsbread.com/

 

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