Rita could have made bread during the pandemic, but she stuck to the custard tarts and created The Custard Natas – Comida

There is no shortage of custard tarts, from the classics and rivals from Belém or Manteigaria, the irreverent ones with passion fruit filling, those with ice cream and those with nothing of animal origin. Still, Rita Sousa, 29, decided to start making custard tarts at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and sharing them with the Dutch in Eindhoven, the city where she went two weeks before the pandemic broke out.

“When I went there, I had a contract with a very small company, in Eindhoven, and with the pandemic they had to reduce my working hours, there was no need for so many people, and I started to have a part-time schedule. I worked 24 hours a week, so I had all the afternoons and Fridays off, and I thought I needed to do something to fill the time.”says Rita, graduated in Clinical Psychology and working in the IT recruitment area.

I could have done anything, like bread that almost everyone was dedicated to kneading in the pandemic, but that was not what I wanted to do. “I really like to cook, make cakes, and I really like pastels de nata. And it really was something I knew I knew how to make, bread didn’t taste that well. great it is: they are very quick to make and the bread not so much”, he explains.

The time in confinement was then spent making custard tarts and he decided to make them available on a Facebook group in Eindhoven. “I said who I was, what I was doing there and that I made Portuguese custard tarts, if anyone wanted to. I did that and went to lunch. Half an hour later I had more than 30 messages receiving orders for that day and I thought: ‘Oh , my God, what now?”, he jokes.

Rita from The Custard Natas

Rita from The Custard Natas

credits: disclosure

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Rita from The Custard Natas credits: disclosure

The most greedy were the Dutch, he was also looking for people of other nationalities, but he received requests from a few Portuguese who, by the way, “were the most difficult customers”, confesses Rita. We are demanding, it is true, perhaps because the custard tarts tell us so much, but for that very reason it is necessary to give value when they are made with greater attention to detail.

This is how Rita Sousa’s products are made and, given the success, gave rise to the brand The Custard Natas, which she manages with her boyfriend Paulo Martins, 31, and which is distinguished by a simple word: handmade.

Rita Sousa and Paulo Martins, The Custard Natas

Rita Sousa and Paulo Martins, The Custard Natas

credits: instagram

” data-title=”Rita Sousa and Paulo Martins, The Custard Natas – Rita could have made bread in the pandemic, but she stuck to the custard tarts and created The Custard Natas – MAGG”> Rita Sousa and Paulo Martins, The Custard Natas

Rita Sousa and Paulo Martins, The Custard Natas credits: instagram

“Artisanal means that everything is made at home. From the puff pastry that is homemade, not bought, the cream is homemade, the eggs, most of the time, are homemade too. The whole process is made by me from the beginning at the end and I think that’s exactly what sets them apart: the fact that we don’t have a mass production allows us to spend a little more time on each pastel de nata and be sure that they are good”, says the confectioner of The Custard Natas .

“People focus mainly on the dough part and when they realize that it is homemade, they immediately give another value to the pastry and appreciate it more. it becomes less cloying and people like it and end up repeating it”, adds Paulo.

Are the Portuguese really that difficult to conquer?

After this description, your mouth will be watering and thinking you have to travel to Eindhoven to get to know The Custard Natas pastries. Disillusion yourself. In March 2022, Rita and Paulo, a master in electrical engineering, who was also working in Eindhoven for about five years, returned to Portugal and it is here that they continue the brand.

Both keep their previous professions in line with the project and introduce another type of pastel de nata, more authentic, without refrigerated pasta.

In Holland it was difficult to win over the Portuguese, but here it has been a lively round of orders that leads Rita to make batches in all her spare time. Even because the offer goes beyond the traditional.

The Custard Natas has the classic pastel de nata, with Nutella and another with peanut butter (from €8 for a box of six pastries) and also muffins in the same flavors (from €1.20) and milk cheesecakes (from 6 .50€). This was also the offer in Holland, where they tried to make Portuguese sweets known, but once in Portugal, which already knows these delicacies, the objective is to show other types of products.

Brownie, peanut butter and chocolate cookies and M&Ms were then launched (from €6 for a box of six).

It is also possible to order a tasting box (from €6).

At Christmas time, it may be Holland’s turn to come to Portugal with the launch of the typical Amsterdam stroopwafels, combined with our egg jam, or a pastel de nata flavored with speculoos Christmas cookies from Lotus, full of spices. What’s next is open, but for now you can taste a pastel de nata fresh out of the oven.

Orders must be placed via a private message on Instagram and deliveries work at a time, date and place to be agreed or on a take away basis at Rita and Paulo’s house, in Odivelas.