Portuguese people are sweet toothed! Their specialities include a least two hundred different types of pastries.
This national taste to sweets seems to have originated during the Moorish occupation, and in the 15th century there was the sugar cane planted in Madeira. In the 17th and 18th century, the convents became famous for their pastries with specialities such as “toucinho do céu” (heaven’s lard) and “barriga de freiras” (nun’s belly).
The best among the egg paste pastries are the “ovos moles”, originally from Aveiro. They play a major role in Portuguese pastrymaking, and you can find them in little shells, complementing tarts and pies or decorating cakes, sometimes these are sprinkled with cinnamon or with grated walnut or almond.
Other desserts include “pão de ló” (light sponge cake), “palha brantes” (golden thin strings of egg yolk based paste), “pastéis de nata” of Belém, almond paste (marzipan) of the Algarve and “pão de rala” of Évora (white pumpkin candy wrapped in almond paste).