Food and drink, Three desserts from the convent

Three desserts from the convent

photo-01467.jpgThe famous pastéis de Belém (or pastéis de nata) are not the only patisseries to have originated in Portugal’s convents and monasteries. There are many other sugar and egg-based delicacies that still appear today in pastelarias and on the dessert menus of restaurants. The trilogy of doces conventuais (conventual desserts) that were served to us in the Café Portugal restaurant in Lisbon (on the first floor of the My Story Hotel Rossio) comprised Papos de Anjo, Molotof and Pudim Abade de Priscos. Papos do Anjo (Angel’s Tummies) are baked egg yolks covered with a sugar syrup. Molotof is soft meringue made with egg whites and sugar and covered with caramel. It was originally created to use up surplus egg whites. It is thought that the name was originally Malakov, the name of a fortress during the Crimean war, but during the Second World War it evolved to be Molotof (or Molotov) after the Soviet foreign minister. Pudim Abade de Priscos (Abbot of Priscos Pudding) is a type of crème caramel named after a nineteenth-century chef, Manuel Joaquim Machado Rebelo (the eponymous Abbot of Priscos), who famously added a cut of bacon (toucinho) to the traditional crème caramel mixture during the preparation process and that unusual ingredient is said to give it a seductively velvet texture.  The bacon is cooked in boiling water and then the water is strained to remove the bacon before being added to the egg yolk mixture, so there is no actual bacon in the final dessert. I therefore suspect the slice of bacon on our Abade de Priscos was the chef’s idea of a culinary joke!Photo 01468