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Belém Tarts from Portugal

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When my heart is longing for Portugal, I make these lovely Belém tarts. Pastel de Belém ‘pastel de nata’, literally means ‘pastry that contains cream in Portuguese.

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12 Portugal Belem tarts (Milky filling on a crust) on cooling rack

Belém Tarts from Portugal

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  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Resting Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Category: Cake, Cupcakes, Cookies and Tarts
  • Cuisine: Portuguese


Antiga Confeitaria de Belém’s egg tarts are called pastéis de Belém, not pastéis de natathe name is trademarked, and the original recipe is secret and I have read that only six people alive today has the original recipe, and that includes the three master bakers working behind closed doors at Secret Atelier.


Units Scale
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 115 g caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 400 ml of milk
  • 1 tsp of vanilla essence
  • 1 packet puff pastry


  • Lightly grease a 12 hole muffin pan and preheat oven to 230 °C.
  • Place the egg, egg yolks, sugar, and cornflour in a pot and mix well together, then slowly add in the milk until the mixture is smooth.
  • Place the pot on medium heat and stir all the time until the mixture thickens and comes to boil.
  • Remove pot from heat and stir in vanilla.
  • Roll the puff pastry out on a lightly floured surface.
  • Lightly sift some icing sugar and cinnamon mix on pastry.
  • Roll like a sausage and cut into 12 pieces.
  • Roll out each piece into a circle.
  • Place circles in a muffin pan.
  • Spoon in cooled custard and bake for 10 minutes.
  • Lower the heat to 200°C and bake another 15 minutes until golden brown.
  • Leave in pan for 5 minutes then move to a cooling rack.
  • Serve hot or cold, but I prefer it hot and fresh.


Just a last tip on this, make sure the circle of pastry stands a bit higher than the edge of the muffin pan because the custard pops up very high during the baking process.

Prepared, tried and tested by Davida De Bruyn
Did you try this recipe? How did it go and what do you think?

Read the following very interesting 5 facts about the Belém Pastries.

History ●●●●● Since 1837 regarding Pastéis de Belém.


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 84
  • Sugar: 10
  • Sodium: 31
  • Fat: 3
  • Saturated Fat: 1
  • Unsaturated Fat: 2
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 13
  • Fiber: 0
  • Protein: 2
  • Cholesterol: 49
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Where did Portuguese tarts originate?

They were supposedly first made in the 13th century by monks in the Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon. Legend says the monks had been based in France, where they learned of delectable pastries, and that they needed a way to use up the yolks separated from the egg whites that were used to starch clothing.  

How long can Portuguese tarts last? 

The tarts can be kept in an airtight box for up to 2 days. If they soften, crisp them up in a medium oven for 5 minutes.  

Should you refrigerate Portuguese tarts?

If consumed within the day you make them, you do not need to refrigerate them. You can eat them warm, at room temperature, or cold. However, if you plan to eat them the next day, make sure to refrigerate them. You can always reheat them in the toaster oven the next day for about 10 minutes.

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10 thoughts on “Belém Tarts from Portugal”

  1. You made those Esme!!! I haven’t tried this recipe yet but I will for sure. They may be an interesting pastry to add to my home bakery menu! Thanks for sharing !

    • Hi Silvia, No I did not make them myself, You will always find a name at the bottom of each recipe crediting the person that made them, and they are all members of The Recipe Hunter FB Group. I hope you will like it and please let me know, as I am sure Davida would love your feedback.

  2. Thanks, Esme. My sort of tart – Mum and I used to make similar years ago. Minimal baking is the order of the days as it is over 30 degrees at present…but we will return! “Battling” with THE BOOK at present. You know, the “Best-seller everyone is breathless to read!” (or not…) Ha ha..Only a chapter or two to go now. Cook on! Best wishes. Joy xx


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