Attention pastry lovers! Today is the 9th December and that means one thing, it’s national pastry day! National Pastry Day celebrates one of the world’s most favourite baked goods, so we’ve put together a list of the best Portuguese pastries and cakes for you to try!
The pastry is a name given to a large variety of baked goods which are made with ingredients such as flour, sugar, milk, butter, baking powder and eggs. Moreover, pastries can be traced as far back as the ancient Mediterranean where they had almost paper thin, multi-layered baklava and Phyllo dough.
Synopsis Practice´s Guide to Sweet Portuguese Pastries
As your probably aware, the Portuguese have a pastry passion and are renowned for their most famous creation, the “Pastel de Nata”. You can find them in just about every pastelaria in Portugal and originated in Belém in 1837 at Pastéis de Belém. (if you’ve not been, you NEED to go).
Another cracker of a Portuguese pastry is the “Travesseiros de Sintra”. A pillow shaped pastry made from puff pastry that’s filled with an egg and almond cream then sprinkled with sugar. They are sold throughout Portugal although many natives believe that you can’y get a good one out of Sintra. If you’re visiting Sintra, it’s worth making a special pilgrimage to Casa Piriquita, a pastelaria in the heart of Sintra.
Next up is the “Palmier” which you can find on sale in pastelarias throughout Portugal, and even in your local Portuguese Lidl! Made from puff pastry that’s coated in sugar, they are rolled into a heart shape for the finishing touch! They are not very sweet and have a buttery taste to them and are perfect for enjoying with a big milky coffee!
We know it’s National Pastry Day, but who doesn’t love a cake! The next item on the list is known as a “Guardanapo” and means napkin or serviette which is exactly what this cake looks like! They’re a square piece of Portuguese sponge cake which is much softer than and more pliable that sponge cakes from other countries. Portuguese custard us spread onto the side of the “Guardanapo” before its folded over, like a napkin!
Back to the pastries and if you like orange then this is the one for you! The “Pastel de Laranja” is a sweet, sticky and orangy pastry which makes use of the many oranges Portugal grows. It tastes like marmalade so orange lovers will love this!
As we’re getting close to that time of year, it’s only appropriate to add some Christmassy items to the list! First up in the Christmas collection of Portuguese baked goods is “Sonhos” (sometimes called “Sonhos de Natal”). These Portuguese doughnuts are made from flour, butter, eggs, sugar and cinemon that are coated in sugar! You only ever see these in Portugal around autumn time and the months leading up to Christmas.
Finally, we have the “Bolo Rei”. Translated to “King’s Cake”. A “Bolo Rei” is one of the most popular Christmas cakes in Portugal and the Portuguese tend to stock up on these around the festive period. Although they are available all year round, they are traditionally eaten in the days between Christmas and Epiphany (6th January). Confeitaria Nacional, one of the most well-known bakeries in Lisbon, is credited with introducing the cake into Portuguese culture in 1870.
That concludes our list of sweet Portuguese treats! So go and celebrate National Pastry Day by going to your nearest “pastelaria”!