There’s nothing worse in the hunt for the perfect Portuguese pastel de nata, than to witness a pale-topped version. A skilfully scorched top provides a perfect contrast of colour and texture. There has never been a better time to re-think travel. I have included a simple pastry recipe for the Queijadas de nata in this recipe.
It’s made with virtually the same set of ingredients as Portuguese rice pudding, but instead of short-grain rice, it’s made with fine egg noodles or vermicelli. At least once a day, seek out some fine pastel de nata alternatives in the local pastelarias across this captivating city. For us, there are two places that really stand out for their outstanding Portuguese pastries. Well, we say you can never have too much of a good thing. For Portuguese pastry number 13, it’s time to get celestial. For the queijinho de céu – or ‘little cheese from heaven’ – is a top contender for the best pastel de nata alternative.
Whatever version you sample, this sweet round bread makes a fine pastel de nata alternative. Although the outer has an almost filo-like quality, the secret to its flaky form is the special high-gluten flour used to create these pastéis. Enjoy these sweet Portuguese pastries for breakfast, either as they are or with a doce de ovos or chocolate filling. If you’re in Lisbon, find pastéis de nata at Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém or at one of the stalls at the Time Out Market. The filling is good but the crust is better bought in the store.
After our first six enticing pastel de nata alternatives, you’ll be ready to take on even more tempting Portuguese pastries. Finally, our top tip in sampling the perfect pastel de nata is to hold back in the pastelaria until a new batch is drawn out of the oven. A freshly baked, still warm, pastel de nata is a thing of true beauty.
Best of all, most hotels listed offer free cancellation so you can stay flexible on the road. In the next few days, take your time to fully explore Porto’s fascinating streets, including the pedestrian Rua de Santa Catarina. Gaze at some of Portugal’s finest azulejos (tin-glazed ceramic tilework) at the magnificent Capela das Almas, São Bento train station and Igreja do Carmo.
Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until milk thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for at least 10 minutes. Add the egg yolks and flour to the previous mixture, stirring constantly so as not to whittle, and allow to pixgames thicken a little. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the tarts cool for about 15 minutes. They’ll look puffy when they come out of the oven, but will then drop a little. These tarts are a touch smaller then the bakery-made versions.