I’d never heard of natillas before living in Spain. It’s so popular there’s even a natillas flavored yogurt! While you may not have heard of it either, I’m willing to bet you know what it is. It’s a delicious soft custard flavored with cinnamon and vanilla. It’s easy to make at home with just milk, eggs, sugar and flavoring. Give this a try and see if you don’t want to Go Boxless and forget about powdered mixes and pudding with a foil top.
For a nice presentation, use 6 ounce ramekins or other small dessert cup to hold your natillas. In Spain they use a shallow terra cotta bowl called a cazuela (affiliate link). They’re available all over the place in all sizes starting at a euro a piece but in the US they cost an arm and a leg no matter what the size. I purchased the one in the photo from the homewares section in Marshalls. It’s just a matter of looking and buying them when you come across them.
The only piece of special equipment you’ll need is a fine strainer (affiliate link) . You want it to prevent the thick bits of cooked egg from getting into the finished custard. I have a small one that works well for the small ramekins. If you don’t have one just try not to scrape across the bottom when putting the custard into the ramekins.
This recipe is a pretty standard one and makes four servings. I adapted it from this one on About.com.
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder or cornstarch dissolved in 3 tablespoons of water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- dash of salt
- cinnamon for dusting
- 4 Maria or similar butter cookies
- Combine everything in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat stirring frequently.
- Stir constantly when it comes to a boil until it thickens.
- Use a ladle to pour the custard through a strainer into dessert cups.
- Sprinkle the top with cinnamon and float a Maria cookie in the custard.
- You can eat warm, or chill to allow it to set up further.
When was the last time you had a homemade custard? Have you ever made one before?