Anyone who knows me, knows that my mom is a marvelous baker. To this day, I vividly remember staying up until 1 to 2 a.m. on a Friday night while my mom filled our home with the delicious scent of her Portuguese baking. I’ve never really asked her why she chose to bake late at night, but I definitely wasn’t complaining.
Portuguese desserts are so much more than your typical Pastéis de Nata. They’re custardy, flaky, doughy delights that really do speak for themselves. Growing up Portuguese I’ve had the luxury of knowing and tasting many desserts and I think it’s only fair that I share those with you. There’s a wide variety of sweets from all around Portugal and here are the next Portuguese desserts you must try!
Here are some Portuguese desserts that will blow you away
Pastéis De Nata
Yes, I know I said there’s so much more than these typical Portuguese tarts, but this wouldn’t be a Portuguese dessert posting without them. With the perfect amount of custard and flaky pastry, you can never go wrong with “a sea of natas”. The best part is the satisfying crunch you get when you first bite into them, that is the secret in knowing whether they’re fresh or not! Caldense Bakery on 1209 Dundas St W is a great place to pick up your next batch of pastéis de nata if you’re in Toronto!
I’m sorry to all my non-dairy wanderers but this is creamy goodness! The subtle bite of the rice and the hints of lemon and cinnamon is a cultural favourite in Portugal. To get the creamiest Arroz Doce it’s critical to be constantly stirring it over low heat. And may I say, it isn’t Arroz Doce without the traditional cinnamon patch work on top! My mom would take the slightest pinch of cinnamon in between her fingers and slowly create the design. This dessert can be served hot or cold, but it usually tastes better after it has settled!
Natas Do Céu
Natas Do Céu translates to “Cream From Heaven”…. and it sure is! This not so popular dessert will have you angry about not knowing of it sooner. This layered dessert consists of whipped cream, layered cookie crumbles, traditional Bolacha Maria, topped with a creamy egg custard. Be careful…this is extremely addictive!
Think of a funnel cake combined with a cinnamon sugar pretzel, that’s what this delicious Portuguese fried doughnut is. They originate from the island of São Miguel and are mainly eaten on what we call Pancake Tuesday, the day before Lent begins. These are also a delicacy during the Portuguese Carnival in the Azores and Madeira Islands. If you’re visiting Hawaii you can also find Malassadas! In the late 1800’s Portuguese labourers went to work on Hawaiian plantations and brought this recipe along with them!
Queijadas De Vila Franca
These custards are not something many people know about. Their name credits where they’re from, Vila Franca Do Campo, a small village in São Miguel island. Its main ingredient, ricotta cheese, brings the queijadas creaminess to life, and its crunchy outer shell is tossed in icing sugar.
Bola de Berlim
This is another Portuguese style sugar donut, but this time filled with a delicious sweet and creamy-egg based custard. These are seen mostly in mainland Portugal and vendors sell them along Portugal’s beautiful blue beaches.