Sintra’s Travesseiro pastry

The culinary highlight of Sintra is the Travesseiro. This light and flaky pastry is filled an egg yolk and almond cream. There’s also a hint of vanilla.

Travesseiro from Casa Piriquita in Sintra, Portugal (photo: Brent Petersen)

In English, Travesseiro means “pillow” or “cushion” and that is an apt translation. The dough is so light and flaky. Little snowflakes of dough drift down onto the table (and your shirt) as you devour one.

Casa Piriquita invented the Travesseiro in the 1940s and they still make them using the closely guarded family recipe. The lines can get long at Casa Piriquita, but the staff is used to this and it moves along quickly. Be patient and it won’t be long before your biting into the flaky goodness of your own Travesseiro!

Casa do Preto also makes an outstanding Travesseiro. Be aware, however, that the name Casa do Preto means House of the Black Person as the original owner was the only person of color in Sintra at the time. The façade of the building has a logo that is, at a minimum, outdated and could be seen as offensive.

So, when you, along with every other tourist in Lisbon it seems, visits the Pena Palace in Sintra, be sure to make time to get a Travesseiro.

Author: Brent