Natilla is a sweet custard that is traditionally served during Colombian Christmas gatherings. There are many variations of this dish throughout the country but this Natilla is my grandmother’s recipe and is very special to me.
I called my mom and one of my aunts for the recipe, but they didn’t have it because they don’t measure when they make it. So, I e-mailed my cousin Natalia in Colombia and asked her if she knew how to make it. Anyway, after calling her mom she got Mamita’s recipe after my aunt Consuelo figured out the correct measurements. Here is my grandmother’s Natilla, with my own twist, of course. I’ve omitted the white cheese and powdered milk that Mamita used in her recipe but the rest is the same. Thank you Natalia and Consuelo
The difference between Mamita’s Natilla and other traditional recipes that you’ll find for it is that she did not use panela, a sweet brown product made from sugar cane, she used condensed milk instead. That is the reason this Natilla is special and delicious. Some people add aguardiente to their natillas, but it in our family we don’t.
(About 6 Servings)
3 cups whole milk
1 cup + 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
1 cup coconut milk
½ cup grated coconut
2 cinnamon sticks
1 can (14 oz) condensed milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar or to taste
1 tablespoon butter
Cinnamon powder to taste
1. Place 1 cup of milk in a small bowl, add the cornstarch and stir to dissolve it, then set aside.
2. Place the coconut milk and grated coconut in the blender and blend until smooth and set aside.
3. Place the rest of the milk and cinnamon sticks in a medium pot and bring the mixture to boil over medium-low heat. When the milk is a little warm, but not boiling, add the coconut mixture.
4. When the milk starts boiling, add the condensed milk, sugar and salt. Stir well with a wooden spoon. Add the milk and cornstarch mixture and continue stirring constantly. Add the vanilla extract. Reduce the heat to low and continue stirring until the Natilla thickens, about 2- 4 minutes. Add the butter, stir and remove from the heat. Discard the cinnamon sticks. Ladle into a serving dish or individual custard cups. Sprinkle cinnamon powder on top and let it cool at room temperature for at least 1 hour. Refrigerate until ready to serve.