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Conventual Sweets from Coimbra

Many would be the reasons we could introduce you to visit Coimbra. For now we will talk about the local sweets with the certainty there will be more than enough reason to do so.

Coimbra’s heritage is rich in conventual sweets. Conventual sweets appeared in the XV century when  sugar appeared and they are still prepared based on ancient recipes from the convents. It was a way for the nuns of the convents welcome the people they received, because at this time the convents were similar to hotels.

Conventual sweets are composed mostly of large amounts of sugar and egg yolks.

In Coimbra, one of the most appreciated conventual sweets is the “Pastel de Santa Clara”, a recipe that belonged to the convent of Santa Clara. This was one of the most notable sweets of the vast recipe heritage of the “Mosteiro das Clarissas de Coimbra”.

Throughout the country it is possible to find several versions of this sweet, belonging to different convents. Coimbra’s consists of a thin dough made with flour, sugar and butter and stuffed with eggs, sugar and almond. You can find this delicious sweet in Cordel Maneirista Restaurant.

Pastéis de Santa Clara

Pastéis de Santa Clara

And speaking about Cordel Maneirista, it was actually Chef Paulo Queirós, Chef and owner of this space, that very recently recovered the recipe of “Pudim das Clarissas”, also belonging to the Convent of Santa Clara.

After much research and many hours to refine the recipe, Chef Paulo Queirós got the desired product. In the year of this re-launching, he won the gold medal at the of “Concurso de doçaria conventual e tradicional de Coimbra” and he already won this year the “Best of the Best” Medal in the same Competition.

Pudim das Clarissas

Pudim das Clarissas

Another conventual sweet of Coimbra is the Manjar Branco, the oldest sweet of the city. The recipe came “by the hands” of a doctor who recommended this Manjar as a lighter meal that facilitated digestion. Later the recipe was transferred to the “Convento de Celas”.

It was there where the association of the shape of the Manjar to a “nun’s breast” appeared, designation by which this sweet is also commonly known. The ingredient that stands out the most and makes it unique is the chicken breast. You can taste this delicious sweet in “A Brasileira”.

Manjar Branco

Manjar Branco

We could not fail to mention a seweet that causes some controversy about his classification. For some people it is also a conventual sweet, because the recipe would have been created in a convent, although poorer. For others, it is considered a “people’s cake”. We’re talking about Arrufada.

Perhaps one of the most popular sweets in the city, sold in the old days in the train stations, especially to outsiders. The purchase was made through the train’s doors and windows. With a very simple base composed with flour, eggs, butter and sugar, this was a cheaper cake and that is why it became very popular.

You can find it, among other places, in Pastelaria Penta in Rua da Sofia and Pastelaria Briosa, in Largo da Portagem, where Arrufada won the Medal of “Best of the Best” in the “Concurso Nacional de Doçaria Conventual Portuguesa” in 2014.



Despite coming from Tentúgal, the “Pastel de Tentúgal” is very famous and very associated to the city, perhaps due to the proximity.

This is a conventual sweet created by the Carmelitas nuns of the “Carmelo de Tentúgal”. The preparation of this cake is very sensitive and its quality depends on the characteristics of the ingredients, flour and eggs, and even the atmosphere. “Pastel de Tentúgal” is mostly appreciated for its thin and crisp puff pastry and its irresistible egg filling.

Pastéis de Tentúgal

Pastéis de Tentúgal

And happily we have oh so many other similarly tasty candies typical of our region. The “Escarpiada” of Condeixa (served at breakfast in Hotel Oslo Coimbra), the “Crúzio” of the Café Santa Cruz, “Queijada” of Pereira, Queijada of Tentúgal and Cavaca Alta of Coimbra.

Surely, the quality of the conventual sweets will always be related to the knowledge of the one who prepares them and with the respect that one must have in relation to the  recipe’s original concepts.

Discover more about Coimbra on our blog.

Café Santa Cruz
Praça 8 de Maio,
3000-300 Coimbra
239 833 617

Cordel Maneirista
Rua Carlos Alberto Pinto de Abreu, nº4
3040-252 Santa Clara / Coimbra
239 164 261

Pastelaria Briosa
Rua Ferreira Borges, nº 211
3000-180 Coimbra
239 821 617

Pastelaria Penta
Rua da Sofia, n.º 65
3000-390 Coimbra
239 823 571

A Brasileira
Rua Ferreira Borges, nº 142
3000-337 Coimbra
239 842 299

Hotel Oslo Coimbra Logo
Hotel Oslo - Coimbra
Av. Fernão de Magalhães, 25
3000-175 Coimbra, Portugal
Tel. +351 239 829 071
(national landline call)
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