Italy has its pizza, Spain has its paella – and Portugal has its pastries. Although they taste best out in Portugal (ideally on an al fresco terrace, accompanied by sea views and a balmy breeze), they’re easy enough to recreate at home, giving you a little taste of Portugal with your morning cuppa. We asked Roberto Horta, Pastry Chef at the Conrad Algarve, to share a few of his favourite local recipes – he’s been making pastries since he was a child, when he used to help his mother in the kitchen.
Torta de laranjas (orange pie)
This delicious orange-flavoured roll comes from Silves, a quaint mountain town in the north of the Algarve. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also make almond sable, carob mousse and orange sorbet to serve alongside it, as Roberto likes to do.
- 500g whole eggs
- 200g caster sugar
- 175ml freshly squeezed orange juice
- Zest of 1 orange
- 15g corn starch
- Combine the orange juice, zest and eggs, then stir together.
- In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and corn starch.
- Combine both bowls of ingredients together and stir occasionally until sugar has dissolved.
- Line three baking trays with grease-proof paper, then pour in the mixture and cook at 180°C for 12-15 minutes, until the surface has set.
- Let the custard cool, then dust the surface with caster sugar so the custard does not stick to the paper.
- Turn out on to grease-proof paper and roll tightly to form a cylinder. Slice to desired size and serve.
To make the carob mousse
- 90g egg yolks
- 125g sugar
- 25g carob flour
- 75g egg white
- 16g gelatine leaves (soaked)
- 250ml whipped cream
- Boil 35g sugar with 35ml water to make a syrup. Combine with the egg yolks and carob flour in a bowl and whisk over simmering water until you make a sabayon, then remove from the heat and stir in the gelatine. Leave to cool.
- Boil 90g sugar with 15ml water to make another syrup. In a mixer, whisk the egg whites to make soft peaks, then slowly add the syrup to make an Italian meringue.
- Fold the whipped cream through the sabayon, then fold through the Italian meringue. Place in the fridge until set.
To make the almond sable
- 100g unsalted butter
- 50g caster sugar
- 25g whole eggs
- 150g ground almonds
- 150g plain flour
- Pinch of salt
- Soften butter and combine with the sugar.
- Add the dry ingredients and slowly work until combined.
- Add eggs and work mixture until the dough resembles an even paste.
- Roll dough to desired shape and thickness, then bake in the oven at 170°C until golden brown.
To make the orange sorbet
- 500ml orange juice
- 150g caster sugar
- 50g pro sorbet (stabiliser)
- Place 200ml of orange juice in a small pan and heat until simmering.
- Add the sugar, stirring until dissolved.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the stabiliser and remaining orange juice.
- Pour into an ice-cream machine and freeze.
Almond and fig pie
“I am a bit of a baking fan, so I was happy to make the pastry for this – but you can always buy ready-made to make it an even easier recipe. The pie was delicious, and quickly disappeared once I brought it into the office!” Nadia, Sovereign Team Leader
For the base
- 150g butter
- 75g caster sugar
- 75g icing sugar
- 75g whole eggs
- 375g flour
- Mix the butter with the caster and icing sugar, then add the eggs bit by bit. Add the flour at the end to bring everything together (take care not to over-mix). Rest in the fridge for one hour.
- With a rolling pin, stretch the dough to 3mm thick and cover a tart mould lined with non-stick paper. Add baking beans and pre-bake at 160°C.
For the filling
- 125ml water
- 250g caster sugar
- 2 slices of lemon peel
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 250g whole eggs
- 200g almond flour
- 100g dried figs (diced)
- 30g icing sugar
- 30g sliced almonds
- Make a syrup with the water, caster sugar, cinnamon stick and lemon peel.
- In a bowl, mix the eggs, almond flour and dried figs.
- Fill your pastries with the mixture, then dust with icing sugar and the sliced almonds.
- Cook at 180°C in a non-ventilated oven for 10-12 minutes.