Many of Portugal’s pastries can be traced back to the country’s once-vast network of convents and monasteries. The religious centres used egg whites to starch their laundry, and had to come up with a use for the excess yolks, legend says.
Different regions came up with variations of pasteis de nata (egg custard pastries). To this day, the Lisbon area is known for its version of the tarts and one place to savour them in the city is Pasteis de Belem.
This shop has been making and selling heavenly tarts since 1837, and the recipe remains unchanged.
There is controversy in the fact there is a trademark on the name pasteis de belem and the monks’ original recipe being just as protected. An Oficina do Segredo (or Office of the Secret) is devoted to guarding the recipe, ensuring it’s known by no more than five people in the world.
“Personally, I like pasteis de nata at Manteigaria better,” says Patricia Canejo, founder of gastronomy tourism company Singulartrips.
See full article at https://www.thestar.com/life/travel/2017/01/27/portugals-history-lies-in-its-pastry.html .