Although I'm still kicking myself for not joining my boyfriend on his recent stay in Sintra, Portugal, I have been happily enjoying the culinary souvenirs he brought home. Among them were these local specialties called queijadas de Sintra, or Sintra cheesecakes. The ingredients are simple – sugar, cheese, flour, egg, and cinnamon – but their effect is intoxicating, and I've found myself craving more of these little cakes ever since I polished off the last one.
To an American audience, the term "cheesecakes" can be a bit misleading, as these are more more like custard-y tarts wrapped in pastry. Made with fresh cheese, they have a pronounced cinnamon flavor that reflects Portugal's Moorish past. The recipe, which reportedly dates back to the 13th or 14th century, is a closely-guarded secret. However, I have found a few approximations online and am eager to give them a try.
These queijadas have also sparked my interest in other Portuguese pastries. Do you have any favorites or recipe recommendations?
(Image: Tertúlia de Sabores, used by permission)