Cathy Smith


This is the best stuff, you just want to make a tub full. I make it often but it is ALWAYS on our Cinco de Mayo menu. The cookies are traditionally Goya Maria cookies, you can omit them or use Vanilla wafers but you should use these if you can find them. Look for them on the International aisle at your restaurant or if you have a Carniceria a Hispanic grocery store.

Blue Ribbon Recipe

I love serving custards for dessert, and I definitely plan on serving this recipe again! The custard is super creamy and the spices are just right. Your friends and family will love this one! Test Kitchen Avatar The Test Kitchen


★★★★★ 3 votes

8 (1/2 cup) servings
5 Min
15 Min
Stove Top


  • 4 c
    milk (i like to use half and half for richness)
  • 1 c
    sugar divided
  • ·
    the zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 stick
  • 6
    egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp
  • 3 Tbsp
  • 2 Tbsp
  • ·
    ground cinnamon
  • 8
    goya maria cookies

How to Make Natilla


  1. Simmer 3 cups milk with ½ cup sugar, lemon zest, and cinnamon stick.
  2. Meanwhile whisk yolks with ½ cup sugar.
  3. After milk simmers, remove from heat, then add in the remaining cup of milk to cool pot down a bit, then add milk 1 ladle at a time to temper egg yolks. Then pour this back in pan and stir. Add vanilla. Stir water into cornstarch and add to mixture. *See NOTE
  4. Turn heat up to medium and cook till Natilla is thick stirring constantly.
  5. Remove cinnamon stick and pour into serving dishes. Sprinkle with group cinnamon. Place one cookie on top of each pudding. Refrigerate till cold at least 2 hours.
  6. NOTE:I have an electric stove so I put my half and half and half with the additions on the lowest setting and let it start heating up. In the meantime I stir the sugar and egg yolks together and I go ahead and mix the water and the cornstarch together. Once that is done, I go back to the half and half mixture and I turn it up a couple of notches and then I start stirring immediately and I heat the mixture till it is steaming but not boiling, (my mother would call this scalding the milk) then I add in the cold milk.

    Now here again at this stage, the chefs on TV will add a scoop or tow of milk and call it good. However, they have never cooked anything for me so I cannot vouch for their abilities but my mama was a great cook and she always said: to temper your milk slowly add in a ladle full of milk at a time while stirring your eggs well until you have ladled about half your scalded milk into the eggs. Then slowly whisk it back into your milk mixture. So I follow my mother's instructions and I have never scrambled the eggs or had to strain them after.

Printable Recipe Card

About Natilla

Course/Dish: Puddings
Main Ingredient: Dairy
Regional Style: Latin American
Hashtags: #mayo #Cinco #de

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