Natilla is a comfort food. It has this magical way of making things all better. At least it did when I was a kid, and for the most part-it still does today. Natilla is a custard that makes for a great dessert-or if you’re like me-breakfast!
Cuban Natilla (Na-tee-yah)
3 ½ cups whole milk (set ½ cup of this aside)
12 oz. evaporated milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
6 egg yolks
4 heaping tbsp Corn Starch
¼ tsp sea salt
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1-2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cinnamon stick
2 inch lemon peel
1 cup of Sugar (you won’t use all of it.)
In a large pot NOT on heat mix the 3 cups whole milk, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, lemon peel, whole cinnamon stick, sugar, butter and salt. Set aside.
Place cornstarch in a small container (I used a small measuring cup) add the cornstarch, then add the remaining ½ cup of milk. Stir briskly until all lumps are dissolved making sure to swipe the edges of your container. Next add the egg yolks to the cornstarch/milk mixture and stir until well combined.
Next strain this mixture into another container. This will remove any icky hard bits of egg white that remained. Set mixture aside.
Place your pot on the stove-it’s a good idea to use a burner that is smaller than your pot. Set your stove to high and heat your milk mixture until it comes to a boil, making sure to stir regularly so that the milks do not stick to the bottom of your pan.
Once the milks are boiling lower the heat to medium and taste for sweetness. You want it to be sweet but not overly sweet. You can leave it as is, or sprinkle in a little bit of sugar at a time. I usually do add in about ¼ cup of sugar.
Now its time to temper the cornstarch/egg mixture. Using a ladle slowly stir in about three ladles of the heated milk into the cornstarch/egg mixture.
Net remove the lemon peel and you can either remove the cinnamon stick or leave it in for a bit longer at this point. (I usually leave mine in.)
Now add the tempered eggs into the pot stirring constantly and in ONE direction.
You will notice an almost immediate thickening off the natilla. Continue cooking until the mixture returns to a boil. Then lower the temperature and cook for three additional minutes or until the mixture completely coats your spoon stirring constantly.
Remove your pot from heat.
Stir in the vanilla extract. My vanilla extract is very strong so I only add in 1 tsp.
Pour into a heat resistant container (ceramic or glass work best). Then cover with plastic wrap making sure that the wrap completely touches the natilla. This will prevent a thick skin from forming on your natilla.
Leave at room temperature until completely cool. Then cover with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate.
You can either enjoy your natilla warm or cold.
When it is warm I like to pull out the cinnamon stick and lick it clean then throw it away. (That’s why I keep it in the mixture instead of removing it with the lemon rind.)
When serving sprinkle with powdered cinnamon.
Enjoy! Buen Provecho!
With the left over egg whites I made merenguitos. I’ll tell you all about those another day!
Nicole Olea’s love language is communication. She does this best using her keyboard as a freelance copywriter and editor. Creative and resilient with high-level experience in social media management, content creation, and eCommerce marketing, Nicole Olea was a professional volunteer, sharing her skills with various non-profit organizations who paid her in hugs. For the last 20 years, she’s lived a quasi-nomadic life, moving across the country and the Atlantic with her active-duty husband and their three kids. She’s awkwardly stumbling toward her goal of becoming a saint. She’s got God-sized dreams and wants you to have them too!
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