Provins: why does niflette have nothing to do with pastel de nata?

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Every fall, it’s the same story. A joke to some, a true belief to others, here we go again the nifleta described as “a custard tart French style.”

As we get closer the festival dedicated to him on November 11 he has Provinces (Sine and Marne)therefore, we seriously explored the issue, supported by expert testimony.

And you will see that if there is a copier, it will not be found in France.

“The niflette is older”

In Provins, a historic city par excellence, Corinne Alaga is the great specialist in medieval pastries, which it sells in your store Medieval delicacies, located in the upper city. And it’s formal:

The niflette dates back to the Middle Ages, while the pastel de nata is younger, as it only appeared in the 19th century, the pastry chef immediately highlights. It is possible, therefore, that the pastel de nata was inspired by the niflette. There is no proof, but if there was a copy it can only be in that sense… (laughs)

Corinne Alaga, pastry chef specializing in medieval cuisine

Each of the desserts has its legend and its temporality: the custard tart would have been done in the district of Belémhe has Lisbonwhere it would have been invented by the nuns of the Jerónimos monastery, before spreading throughout the Portugalto the delight of tourists.

The niflette is seasonal. She just prepares for the approach of HallowmasAND only in Provins And in your region. The story goes that it was offered, according to tradition, to orphans who cried and “snorted” at their parents’ graves.

No egg whites in the pastry

So much for historical context. But what about tailoring? Here too the experts did not give in: if the two pastries are similar, there is no point in comparing them.

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“It is purely and simply a matter of two different recipes, says Dominique Gaufillier, a historic baker and confectioner from the medieval city. The shape and flavor also differ: the niflette is flatter and traditionally scented with orange blossom and vanilla, when the custard tart, flavored with cinnamon and lemon, has a more crumbly puff pastry in the shape of a tart. »

Niflette Festival 2023: see you on November 11th in Provins

The 2023 edition of Fête de la niflette will be held this Saturday, November 11, from 9:30 am to 6 pm, in the center of Provins, close to Place Saint-Ayoul. Find the complete program at

It is precisely in this funnel shape that the main difference between the two sweets lies. If the custard tart is conical, it is to maintain its more liquid pastry cream and heavier than the niflette.

“The recipe for custard tart It may vary depending on the sensitivity of the bakers, but there is one constant: the absence of egg white in preparing the cream, explains Corinne Alaga, who has already made Lusitanian pastries. We only use the egg yolks, unlike niflette where most pastry creams are made from egg whites. »

Dominique Gaufillier adds:

It is precisely the egg white that gives this light, airy and subtle side to the niflette. This is why you can eat four to five in a row, while pastel de nata quickly becomes overwhelming due to its rich, oily and sweeter side, as it contains almost twice as much glucose as niflette.

Dominique Gaufillier, baker and confectioner in Provins

Now that you can differentiate the two and, above all, explain why, there is no longer any way to perpetuate clichés.

The niflette is unique, just like the custard tartalso voted the best pastry shop in the world in 2023 by the specialized website LikeAtlas, who also only classified the French crepe as the best dessert in the world (cock-a-doodle Doo!).

Pastel de nata, “little pudding”?

And if your Portuguese friends continue to make fun of you, you can always remind them that your Fried pastryno offense to them, may indeed be called “little pudding”… Yes yes !

“There really are real similarities”, guarantees Corinne Alaga, without even giving the impression of walking on eggshells. The cream of custard tart It is a pudding cream, as with many other desserts of this type. »

No more parting, good friend!

Niflette Festival, Saturday, November 11, 2023 in Provins. Find the complete program at

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