While I was browsing Goya's website for recipes, I found this one for Natilla, a Colombian Custard perfect for the Holidays. I went to the grocery store with all intentions of buying the ingredients needed but I couldn't find a bag of Panela (chopped dried sugar cane). I browsed the web to see if I could find a swap for the Panela (in one recipe it said 1 cup of dark brown sugar) but instead I discovered this wonderful version on My Colombian Recipes that required no Panela or Dark Brown Sugar at all! Instead, it had coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk and plain sugar, all of which I had on hand. I also liked that the shredded coconut was inside the custard and that it was dusted with cinnamon on top. It also looked a lot more visually appealing than the Goya recipe or the other ones I found online. I'm trying to reduce my lactose intake so I swapped out regular milk for Almond Milk and besides the butter and the sweetened condensed milk, this was pretty light on the lactose. If you don't like egg-based custards, give this one a try!
Adapted from My Colombian Recipes
3 cups of milk (or Almond Milk), divided
1 cup of cornstarch
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup of coconut milk
1/2 cup of shredded coconut
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup of white sugar
dash of salt
1/2 tsp of vanilla
1 tbsps of butter
ground cinnamon to taste
In a small bowl, add 1 cup of the milk and 1 cup of starch. Mix thoroughly until all the cornstarch is dissolved and there are no lumps. Set aside.
In a pot over medium heat, add the rest of the milk (2 cups) and the cinnamon sticks. Warm up the milk without bringing to a boil. Make sure you cover the pot! While that's heating up, add the coconut milk and coconut to a blender and blend until it's as smooth as you can. Roughly 1 minute.
When the milk is warm, add the coconut-coconut milk mixture. Stir and bring to a boil. Add the sweetened condensed milk ,sugar, salt and vanilla.
Now the original recipe says to heat at low for 2-4 minutes until it thickens. I tried this and it was still watery. So I turned it to medium heat (on the lower side) and stirred constantly for about 10 minutes or so until it noticeably thickened and clumps began to form. Drop in the tablespoon of butter at this point.
I took the pot off the heat, grabbed a whisk and whisked until all the lumps were gone. Then I took a 9 X 13 baking dish and poured the custard in. Let cool for an hour. Sprinkle some cinnamon on top then let cool for a couple more hours (or up to 2 days) in the fridge. Cut slices cold and serve. Enjoy!