At the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, in Belém, next to the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (the Heironymite Monastery) there was a sugar cane refinery linked to a small general store.
As a result of the liberal revolution of 1820, all convents and monasteries in Portugal were shut down in 1834, the clergy and labourers expelled.
In an attempt at survival, someone from the monastery offered sweet pastries for sale in the shop; pastries that rapidly became known as 'Pasteis de Belém'.
At that period the area of Belém was still far from the city of Lisbon and could be reached by steam-boats. At the same time, the grandeur of the monastery and the Torre de Belém (the Belém Tower) attracted visitors who soon grew used to savoring the delicious pastries originated in the monastery.
In 1837, the baking of the 'Pasteis de Belém' was begun in buildings joined to the refinery, following the ancient 'secret recipe' from the monastery. Passed on and known exclusively to the master confectioners who hand-crafted the pastries in the 'secrets room', this recipe remained unchanged to the present day. In fact, the only true 'Pasteis de Belém' contrive, by means of a scrupulous selection of ingredients, to offer even today the flavour of the time-honoured Portuguese sweetmaking.
Are sold on average 10,000 Pasteis de Belém per day and the record is 55,000 in one day. Price: € 0.90 each Pastel de Belém.
The success of the Pasteis de Belém come of the conventual and old recipe that is a secret that no one tell...
Source: Pasteis de Belém Site