A Pie for Pi Day
Pi (π) is a mathematical constant with the value approximately equal to 3.14159. It represents the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter and appears in many mathematical formulae involving circles, spheres, and cylindrical shapes.
And 14th March is Pi Day!
Here at Spencer Becks, we are celebrating Pi Day with our very own “Pie Day” More specifically, we are enjoying a lovely Pastel de Nata (Portuguese custard tart) with our coffee. Yes, you’re right, any excuse for a sweet treat! These iconic traditional Portuguese pastries are made of a crisp and flaky pastry crust filled with a creamy and smooth custard filling. Along with most visitors to Portugal, we think they are utterly delicious.
A Little Bit of History…
The history of Pastel de Nata dates back to the 18th century. It is believed to have originated from the Belém district of Lisbon, where it was made by monks in the Jerónimos Monastery. The recipe was later passed on to a local pastry shop called “Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém” and it quickly gained popularity in Portugal and beyond.
The exact origins of the recipe are not clear, but it is thought to have been developed as a way to use up leftover egg yolks from making egg-whites for starching clothes.
Despite its humble origins, Pastel de Nata is one of the most popular traditional pastries in Portugal today. It’s an iconic dessert in Portuguese cuisine and a staple of Portuguese patisseries.
Where to Buy Locally
You can buy these little custard tarts at any bakery, but here are some of our local favourites:
- Pastelaria Concha is local to our office. It is located in the upper village, not far from the church. From the outside, it’s a nondescript little cafe. But, they have been making cakes here on the premises since the 1950s and the custard tarts are fantastic.
- Café Ferreira is in our neighbouring village of Alfeizerão and offers a large variety of pastries. It is a convenient stop on the way to Lisbon, and always busy with locals.
- Pastelaria Alcôa is a fantastic patisserie located at the heart of Alcobaça right in front of the Monastery of Alcobaça, one of the most impressive examples of Cistercian architecture in Europe.
- Tempus Pastelaria is one of our favourite places for a coffee and a pastel de nata; or a quick lunch. Friendly service, a fabulous selection of luscious desserts.
If you are visiting us for a viewing trip, we are always happy to take a coffee break, so you can sample the local sweet treats yourself. It’s a good chance to discuss feedback and next steps after viewings. Just mention this to us when booking your viewings and we’ll schedule some extra time!