Every time we enter a Portuguese café, we have to decide between a large and a small “pastel de nata.” It’s not an easy choice.
Large pasteis have more filling than crust, so they leave a pronounced sweet lemony aftertaste. Eating them requires our full attention. Where do we start? Where should we place our next bite? How should we hold the pastry so we lose none of its precious filling? These pressing issues empty our mind of its usual chatter and we feel the inner peace of a yoga master.
Small pasteis de nata are crunchier. And you can do magic with them. Hold one in your hand and, when no one is looking, pop it into your mouth. Now you see it, now you don’t; all that’s left is an irrepressible smile.
So, what’s the right choice? Magic or inner peace? A crunchy bite or a lemony aftertaste? More research is required before we can render a final verdict.