Have you ever taken a bite of a Portuguese egg tart and wondered about its origins? These delectable pastries have become a beloved dessert across Asia, captivating the taste buds of food enthusiasts and dessert lovers alike.
The Birth of a Sweet Sensation - Pastel de Nata
The story goes way back in the 18th century in Portugal, where a group of ingenious nuns discovered the perfect balance of flavors that would eventually give birth to the Portuguese egg tart, aka Pastel de Nata.
At the time, egg whites were used to iron and starch the nun's habits, a religious headpiece worn daily, resulting in excess of egg yolks.
To prevent wastage, the nuns came up with a recipe and started baking them into bite sized custard tarts. It was only years later due to bad economical times where they started selling them in order to survive.
The Secret Travels to Distant Shores
As news of this delectable creation spread, the fame of pastel de nata grew beyond the monastery walls. It was during the 15th and 16th centuries, when Portugal was a maritime powerhouse, that these tantalizing treats embarked on a journey to distant shores. With Portuguese explorers venturing across the globe, the egg tarts set sail to new lands, bringing their unique flavors to faraway destinations.
A Serendipitous Encounter in Hong Kong
Fast forward to the 20th century, where a serendipitous encounter between Portugal's culinary legacy and Hong Kong's bustling streets gave birth to a new chapter in the history of Portuguese egg tarts. In the 1980s, a British pharmacist, Andrew Stow discovered these delightful pastries and saw an opportunity. Recognizing their potential, he brought the recipe back to Hong Kong and introduced it to the local culinary scene.