Pastéis de Nata

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Above you see one very fine Portuguese Pastel de nata, bought from the Venezia Bakery on Ossington St, Toronto (absolutely & completely different to Chinese or English egg tarts). I've never tried one of these before, let alone the version from Belem in Portugal which was invented by nuns. But its combo of light, eggy sweet custard (which prefers low temperatures) and a very thin, crispy, fine, not-sweet pastry shell (which paradoxically requires very hot temperatures, hotter than a conventional home oven) is addictive: a little bit caramelised on top, soft and gloopy, with the delicate crunch of biting through the shell. Buy three and eat them in the time it takes to cross the road to Babel Books. You'll be so high on custard that the dog-eared paperbacks of The Stranger or Sodome et Gomorrhe look like a laugh riot. Side effects may also include buying some strange remixed 12" of No Mercy by the Stranglers and 2 Divine records from Babel's 4 dollar bin without listening first. Then you will then (in all likelihood) leave the store trying to balance 7 hard backed volumes of Proust on your head.

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Recipe for Pastéis de nata


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