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
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.
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.