Sweets & desserts

Sweets & desserts

By
Rebecca Seal
Contains
19 recipes
Published by
Hardie Grant Books
ISBN
9781784881030
Photographer
Steven Joyce

In Lisbon, you are never far from a sweet treat. From custard tarts wrapped in shells of flaky butter pastry, to doughnuts rolled in sugar and cinnamon, cakes dripping sweet syrup or crunchy little biscuits, there is always something to pair with a cup of coffee. Desserts are no less important and many recipes, like ‘bacon from heaven’ or ‘bread of god’, are hundreds of years old. Many of Lisbon’s sweets have religious origins. The long tradition of conventual sweets made by Portuguese religious orders comes from using egg whites to starch their clothing as well as clarify the alcoholic drinks they made. Left with an excess of yolks, monks and nuns began to create ever more elaborate dishes, all based on eggs and sugar but occasionally including flour, citrus or nuts. In 1834 Portuguese convents and monasteries were dissolved, and many of their former inhabitants started to sell sweets and pastries, setting up shops and patisseries all over the country. Some of the surviving religious orders still make pastries, but many shops are supplied by small-scale cooks who specialise in a particular cake or sweet. Many of the most famous recipes are long-kept secrets – in fact, the owner of one of the most famous sweet shops in Lisbon told me that she couldn’t give me any of her recipes, because the ladies who created them for her refused to share them, even with her.

Featured Recipes in this Chapter

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