Colombian natilla is precisely that: a classic from this country's cuisine that becomes a delight for both children and adults during festive times and family gatherings. With its delicate cinnamon flavor and aroma, this dessert will have you coming back for more.
This ancestral recipe has been passed down from generation to generation, retaining its charm and tradition in every Colombian household. Making it is a love-filled ritual, and the result is a dessert that charms everyone with its simplicity and unique flavor. Its ingredients are easy to find and affordable, making it an ideal choice to share with family and friends on any occasion.
Natilla is a recipe that has been made for many years, which can be eaten at any time of year. However, it's particularly popular during the Christmas season, so it's a must-make.
We love this recipe; it reminds us of family and brings families together. For these and many other reasons, I want to share the traditional natilla recipe so you can savor its taste and appreciate life's little pleasures.
Differences with Other Recipes
Our recipe is prepared in the traditional way, flavored with ingredients like essences, cinnamon, coconut, etc.
It's not a sweet preparation, at least in our version, so you can eat it without getting overwhelmed or feeling sick.
Its flavor is traditional, but if you wish, you can change or add ingredients to achieve the desired taste.
What is Natilla?
Natilla is understood as a dairy dessert to which sugar and flavorings are added. It has spread throughout many parts of Latin America and has become a family tradition.
It can also be made from corn, which is soaked, ground, and rinsed with water several times until all the corn's flavor is extracted. Then, panela and milk are used to prepare the natilla.
How to Prepare Traditional Natilla?
Put the milk over medium-high heat, along with the cinnamon sticks. Add the panela or sugar if desired, and stir to combine and dissolve. Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix the cornstarch with the remaining milk, ensuring no lumps form.
Once the milk begins to boil, lower the heat and simmer for another 4 minutes, then remove the cinnamon sticks. Stir the cornstarch mixture again and add it to the pot, stirring until it thickens. Add the shredded coconut and a bit of butter.
Also, add the vanilla essence, stir, and cook over medium-low heat until it begins to boil and thickens. Don't stop stirring. Once thickened, transfer the mixture into individual containers, sprinkle with some cinnamon powder, let it set, and it's done.
What Can We Pair with This Recipe?
Undoubtedly, delicious buñuelos; they are the perfect match with an unparalleled flavor. However, you can also serve this dish as a dessert following any meal.
Tips and Recommendations
- After adding the cornstarch, you mustn't stop stirring, so the mixture doesn't stick or burn.
- You can sweeten with panela or with white and brown sugar.
- You can add other essences, like caramel, for a slightly different taste.
- For a dulce de leche flavor, blend the milk with cornstarch and dulce de leche, then follow the usual process.
Benefits of Eating Natilla
Natilla is rich in vitamins and minerals, thanks to a special ingredient: milk, which offers many health benefits.
It's high in iron and calcium, low in sodium, and free from trans fats.
- Buñuelos: Without a doubt, the perfect accompaniment to this dish.
- Tres Leches Dessert: A variation to enjoy to the fullest.
- Colombian Dulce de Leche: A flavor you can add to the natilla.
- 5 cups of milk.
- 1 pound of panela or 1 cup of mixed white and brown sugar.
- Cinnamon sticks to taste.
- 1 full cup of cornstarch.
- 1 tablespoon of butter.
- ½ cup of shredded coconut.
- ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract.
- Ground cinnamon.
- In a high-heat pot, add 4 cups of milk with cinnamon sticks.
- Add the panela or sugar and stir to mix and combine.
- In another bowl, mix the cornstarch with the remaining cup of milk, ensuring no lumps form or cornstarch settles at the bottom. Set aside.
- Once the milk is boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for about 4 more minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks.
- Stir the cornstarch and milk mixture again and add it to the pot, stirring continuously.
- Add the shredded coconut and butter.
- Also, add the vanilla essence and stir to combine.
- Cook on medium-low heat until it boils and starts to thicken. Remember to stir constantly.
- Once thickened, let it simmer for another 8 minutes, or until the mixture becomes thick and heavy.
- Pour the mixture into individual containers, sprinkle with ground cinnamon, let it set, and it's ready.