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Saranjan Tours

Travel in Spain and Portugal

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Thursday, December 20, 2007



It’s not surprising that a country where the one time largest supermarket chain was called Pao de Acucar/Sugarbread would take its pastry making seriously. Every region of Portugal has its specialties, and many are based on eggs, sugar, more eggs, and almonds. We’ve been following the sugar trail home to Sintra for the holidays…in anticipation.

Our family favorite is the Travesseiro; in the world of Portuguese desserts, this candied pumpkin wrapped in a tissue of pastry is a light-weight, melt in your mouth wonder—a wonder even though it is not named for a favorite dowager aunt or remote corner of Lusitania. The Travesseiro is not a Suspiro de Mancarra or a Queijadinha da Tia Aninhas. Nor does it call for a dozen egg yolks. It is Portuguese pastry-lite.

But when we want to truly indulge, there is only one Portuguese specialty that satisfies-- a Toucinho do Ceu de Portalegre, a name that roughly translates as Heavenly Fat from Portalegre. This potentially heart-stopping pudding requires 500 grams of sugar, 250 of water and ground almonds, 60 of flour, 50 of butter, 9 egg yolks and 3 whites. It is well worth the risk.

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