Cuban Natilla

This is my all time favorite Cuban desserts, of all Cuban desSerts and if you know anything about Cuban desert- you know there is some serious competition. Each bite is a creamy, luscious, spoonful of heaven. I have always been intimidated by it. It seemed too delicious for me to attempt to make it. I imagined it had to be complicated or out of my skill level. Enter Chef Ani Martinez. We got together and made it a few different ways. Finally we found the easiest and best (in our opinion) way to make it smooth and creamy, and it really doesn’t take too long to do. It’s also very straightforward, and just requires about 15-20 minutes of your time. So get out your leche condensada people, it’s go time:

  • 1 can (12 oz) of evaporated milk
  • 1 can (14 oz) of condensed milk
  • 20 oz of whole milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup of cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup of cold water
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • 1/2 a vanilla bean cut lengthwise
  • 2 teaspoons of natural Tahitian vanilla
  • Ground cinnamon for dusting

In a blender or food processor add the egg yolks, salt, evaporated milk, and condensed milk. Hold onto the can of condensed milk.

In a bowl mix together the cornstarch with the water until it is completely dissolved. Strain this and add to the blender. Mix on high again, scraping the sides to be sure everything is incorporated

Add this mixture to a heavy bottom pot. Then pour part of the whole milk into the empty can of condensed milk, filling it almost to the top. Using a spoon, scrape the sides and get all the condensed milk left in the can and pour into the pot. Then add the remaining milk into the pot (this will total about 20 oz). Turn heat to medium. Add the cinnamon sticks, and the vanilla bean being sure to scrape out the seeds.

IMPORTANT: Mix constantly with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Once you start this recipe you are committed for the next 12 minutes.

It will start to thicken after about 6 minutes.

BE PATIENT. If you feel the bottom of the pan is sticking don’t scrape it. Just let it be and slowly mix the top portion only.

Drop to low once you see it thickening and cook for another 5-7 minutes on low stirring slowly.

Add the vanilla extract. Pull out the vanilla bean. Then strain this mixture into individual portions or a large ramekin. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Let it set in the fridge a few hours. Serve with toasted pound cake.

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