Fim de Século pastry, in Benfica, won Lisbon’s annual Custard Cream Tart Contest, in April 2016, organized by Peixe Festival. Time Out took this opportunity to talk to pastry chef Carlos Oliveira, that said that “the secret lies in the dough”. “The dough is what takes more time to bake. First you have to knead the puff pastry and let it rest for a few hours, then you add the butter and you turn it around a few times, but I can’t tell you how many times”, he laughs. “That’s where the secret lies”. Then, you must stretch it, cut it in small pieces and put it into cake bins. What we want is for it to rest in the fridge overnight before being stuffed, not to risk getting the dough to shrink.
On Saturdays, on market days, the queue outside this pastry – which is 27 years old and has only a few square meters – goes almost all the way to Benfica’s Market, which is 200 meters away.
“There was a Saturday that was insane. We sold over 3000 tarts in one day. He had 12 Brazilian tourists that as soon as they landed they got here to eat them”, says André Santos, the manager. “Each day we spend an average of 30 dozen of eggs, 20 kilos of margarine, 50 kilos of sugar and another similar amount of flour to bake them”. “We are also very known for our bolo-rei (a Christmassy traditional Portuguese cake), which even won several awards, and for being the ones baking all the pastries at Brasileira, in Chiado. Every day we send them cream custard tarts, muffins, jesuítas and palmiers”.