One of the best parts of traveling in foreign countries is the chance to stumble upon local foods you’ve never heard of. For example, there’s a small bakery right across the street from our Lisbon apartment that sells something called pastéis de nata.
What, you may ask, are pastéis de nata?
Well, they are custard-filled egg tart pastries that are popular in Portugal and countries with a significant number of Portuguese immigrants or Portuguese influence.
They were first created by Lisbon’s Catholic monks back in the 18th century, when convents and monasteries used a huge number of egg-whites to starch things like the nuns’ habits.
That, of course, meant they had an equally huge number of egg yolks left over. No problem. The crafty nuns and monks began using the leftover egg yolks to make cakes and pastries — such as pasteis de nata.
Locals say they are best when they are fresh from the oven, sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar.
Jamie seemed to agree.