Monday, July 2, 2012

Natillas, to celebrate yesterday's Spanish Eurocup win!

As I walked on a straight path through small maze-like gardens, I wondered what mysteries I would discover behind the strong, 900-year-old stone wall. 

Natillas, a Spanish dessert similar to English custard

The halls, which surrounded a courtyard, were fit for pacing underneath gothic arches that adorned the ceiling like morning glories. This is the type of place where natillas, a custard-like Spanish dessert, came from. Nuns preferred natillas because they were inexpensive but at the same time wholesome and nutritious. 

This Spanish cloister is located in North Miami. A few decades ago, it was purchased by the Hearst family and it was shipped to Florida, where it was reassembled, piece by piece, like a numbered puzzle. 

If you burn sugar on top, you get catalan cream!

 Natillas were brought from Spain to Latin America, where they are enjoyed in countries such as Colombia (where the ingredients were tweaked a bit), Cuba, Mexico, among others. Cubans took this treat with them to Miami, where I tasted natillas for the first time at a Cuban restaurant in North Miami Beach. 

Natillas were taken by the Spaniards to Latin America
2 cups milk
4 egg yolks
100 grams granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
zest of half a lemon
cinnamon stick
raspberry sauce
blueberries and cranberries
vanilla wafers (optional)

Heat the milk, lime zest, and cinnamon stick. Whisk the yolks, sugar, and cornstarch together. When the milk boils, pour it through a sieve into the yolk mixture, then pour it back into the pot. Cook until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Place in a metal bowl and stir over cold/ice water until it's at room temperature. Place the custard in a dish and cover it with saran wrap and set in the fridge. Adorn it with blueberries, cranberries, a fruit coulis, and even vanilla wafers.
Raspberry Sauce (Coulis)
1 cup raspberries
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
Cook the raspberries and sugar, stirring, in a pot, on low-medium heat, until the mix thickens and turns into a sauce.


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