Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sweet Belem - Portuguese Egg Tarts

Since moving to nearby Leichhardt, I was given a 'seek and digest' mission in Petersham to find the local Portuguese community's favourite local cake shop and eliminate a Portuguese egg tart with extreme prejudice.

Sweet Belem, named after the 'suburb' of Lisbon where these tasty treats originated, produces an array of pastries and cakes, but it is the traditional egg tarts that has everyone flocking here. Inside the shop, reminders of the motherland are abundant, including photos and paintings of Belem tower. I instantly recognise the tower, and to my horror, realise that on a trip to Lisbon years before, I had failed to locate and sample a tart from its original source.

I scan the cake display for the tarts and there is only two left on display. There is a lady in front of me and I start to get anxious. Will I miss out again? Thankfully, she is a regular and knows that there are still plenty more cooking out the back. She orders a dozen! The new batch arrives with the top layer of tarts stacked face down on top of the bottom layer.

I promptly order two, the outer edges of it's flaky pasty nicely browned and with a generous dusting of cinnamon. The tarts are similar in taste to the Chinese egg tarts but with a very different texture. The pastry is much more flaky and as a result, has a bit of crunch to to it. This launches fragments of pastry across the table and into my lap. There is also more elasticity to the pastry than the lard shortened Chinese version. The custard is sweet, creamy and rich, with the slightest skin on top. The tarts also differ to the Portuguese introduced tarts found in Macau in that there is very little charring of the custard on top.

The texture is a little more heavy than the silken-like Chinese tart and is served at room temperature as opposed to the warm/hot yum cha variety. I didn't sample any of the other cakes unfortunately as these tarts proved to be the perfect, portion controlled Sunday treat.

Sweet Belem

35B New Canterbury Rd
Petersham NSW 2049


  1. Bravo MSG for carrying out this brave mission! Now you just gotta work out how to magic a couple of warm tarts or a dozen to us ASAP! hehe!

  2. Oh aren't thery divine! Just the stuff that dreams are made of. Love the bite photo :P

  3. i love the portuguese tarts from sweet belem! they also make an awesome chocolate rose cake!

  4. Love, love, love Portuguese Custard Tarts. Love them. Thank you for this post. Mmmmm, planning a trip to Lisbon now
    : )

  5. Lucky you Alison! And we'd love to hear about it on these pages when you do get there!

  6. Portuguese tarts from the source (at Petersham) are the best! Have you tried making them? They are surprisingly easy and taste good, too.

  7. Thanks for sharing this, I'm going to have to make a detour here this weekend!

  8. gee i wished i lived closer. have you found any other good places for portuguese tarts?

  9. I haven't tried making my own tarts yet as I don't want to use store bought puff pastry. It's on the list of things to cook.....

    I do know of another place for these tarts but it's right around the corner from Petersham in Dulwich Hill: Fernandes Patisserie, 516 Marrickville Road.

    NQN has posted a good review. You should note that they sold out early on her visit so set the alarm clock. It's worth the trip!

  10. Ah if only I could eat egg! :(