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Best Natillas De Leche Recipe [Spanish Custard Dessert]

The south of Spain never fails to have good dessert recipes and here we will present to you another delicious and easy recipe.

It is about the Natillas de Leche, and if you prepare this recipe then you will have the perfect dessert for any occasion that you can enjoy at any time of the year.

Continue scrolling down this article to learn how to make them step by step, the changes you can make to the ingredients, and the different ways to store and serve them.

Natillas De Leche in 2 bowls next to some cinnamon on a black surface. Best Natillas De Leche Recipe [Spanish Custard Dessert]

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Background of the Dish

Natillas De Leche, spanish custard cream dusted with cinnamon

In a region full of fantastic custard dessert recipes like the Spanish flan recipe or the Crema Catalana, it is not so easy to stand out, but the Natillas de Leche does it.

It is believed that the recipe was created in convents in Spain due to its austerity in the ingredients since it only has 3 main ones: milk, sugar, and eggs.

In fact, in its early days, no flavoring was used as a mandatory ingredient, rather it was optional and it was preferred to have a custard with a strong milk flavor.

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a bowl of natilla de leche with cinnamon and biscuits. On top it's written natillas de leche-Spanish custard.

Things You’ll Need for Natillas De Leche

Natillas stand out from other Spanish dessert recipes for their simplicity, and the few ingredients they need.

The only key ingredients (that cannot be replaced) to make Natillas de Leche are eggs, milk, and sugar.

As for kitchen tools, a whisk and a saucepan are enough.

ingredients such as eggs, milk, sugar and natillas de leche in a pot

Ingredients

  • 5 egg yolks
  • 4 cups (1l) milk
  • 1 1/4 cups (150 gr) sugar
  • 1 lemon peel
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 cinnamon powder (amount to taste)
  • 4 tablespoons (30 gr) cornstarch

How to Make Natillas De Leche – Step by Step Guide

milk boiling in a pot for the spanish natillas de leche.
  1. To start making this natilla recipe you have to clean the lemon and get a piece of peel.
  1. After that, pour the milk into a saucepan and add the cinnamon, vanilla essence, and lemon peel. Put the saucepan on the fire and let the milk heat up without boiling. When it’s hot, turn off the heat and let it get lukewarm.
  1. Now, mix the egg yolks with the sugar until it becomes a homogeneous mixture. Add the cornstarch and mix until smooth until you have no lumps left (you can do it with a whisk or fork to break and dissolve the lumps).
  1. Remove the cinnamon stick and lemon peel when the milk has warmed a bit.
  1. Then, return the saucepan to medium heat, but first, take a couple of spoons of milk and pour them into the mixture of yolks and sugar. (If you were to mix the eggs with all the milk, they would curdle.)
  1. Now, pour the yolks into the saucepan with the remaining milk and let it heat over medium heat, stirring constantly. Stirring like this is what makes the egg custard thicken. To prevent lumps from forming, use a whisk.
  1. When you have a thick and smooth cream, turn off the heat and remove the saucepan.
  1. Distribute the natilla in small bowls or individual containers and let it cool before putting the Spanish custard in the fridge.
  1. The egg custard recipe is now ready. When serving the Natilla de Leche, sprinkle some cinnamon powder on top (optional).

Substitution of Ingredients

natillas de leche with chocolate in a glass bowl.

To prepare this custard dessert recipe you need milk, eggs, and sugar as irreplaceable ingredients.

This is a custard recipe with milk so unfortunately if you are lactose intolerant or vegan you will not be able to eat it.

You could try making it with non-dairy milk, but it won’t be so creamy (plus the eggs make it not vegan).

As for the sugar, you can use some low-calorie or brown sugar, but you have to use sugar.

If you can play with the flavorings as you can with other custard desserts.

For example, you can dissolve 4 tablespoons of dulce de leche to make it taste that way, add 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder to make it chocolatey, or use an orange peel instead of the lemon peel.

Tips on Serving Natillas De Leche

natillas de leche in a bowl next to some biscuits

When you finish making this custard recipe you will have the perfect Spanish dessert for any occasion.

You can eat custard dessert in winter, summer, or practically any time of the year.

Some people serve it as a dessert during the holidays, since they are made in small bowls, you only have to take them to the table to serve them (much more comfortable than cutting cake).

In some not-so-traditional custard recipes, a cookie is placed on top of the Natilla de Leche, which can be a great option to give it a different texture.

And if you want to make another delicious Spanish dessert that has custard, you must try the Spanish custard dessert or goxua as it’s known in Spain.

How to Store Natillas De Leche

How to Store Natillas De Leche. An open fridge with various vegetables and fruits in plastic containers.

Once you finish making the homemade custard recipe, you can keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Keep in mind that it is an easy custard recipe so it is designed to be prepared and eaten on the same day, or a couple of days later.

These Natilla de leche cannot be frozen, as it takes on a very strange texture in the freezer, and the liquids end up crystallizing.

There is a myth that says that if you make this custard pudding recipe and put it in the freezer you will have ice cream.

But here we are going to debunk it since it doesn’t work like that (you will have ice crystals and a separate liquid cream).

Recipe Card: Natillas De Leche

Yield: 6

Natillas De Leche Recipe

Natillas De Leche in 2 bowls next to some cinnamon on a black surface

The south of Spain never fails to have good dessert recipes and here we will present to you another delicious and easy recipe.

It is about the Natillas de Leche, and if you prepare this recipe then you will have the perfect dessert for any occasion that you can enjoy at any time of the year.

Let's make this Spanish custard recipe together.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 5 egg yolks
  • 4 cups (1l) milk
  • 1 1/4 cups (150 gr) sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups (150 gr) sugar
  • 1 lemon peel
  • 1 lemon peel
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 cinnamon powder (amount to taste)
  • 1 cinnamon powder (amount to taste)
  • 4 tablespoons (30 gr) cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons (30 gr) cornstarch

Instructions

  1. Clean the lemon and get a piece of peel.
  2. Pour the milk into a saucepan and add the cinnamon, vanilla essence and lemon peel. Put the saucepan on the fire and let the milk heat up without boiling. When it's hot, turn off the heat and let it get lukewarm.
  3. Mix the egg yolks with the sugar until it becomes a homogeneous mixture. Add the cornstarch and mix until smooth (no lumps left).
  4. When the milk has warmed a bit, remove the cinnamon stick and lemon peel.
  5. Return the saucepan to medium heat, but first, take a couple of spoons of milk and pour them into the mixture of yolks and sugar. (If you were to mix the eggs all at once with all the milk, they would curdle.)
  6. Now, pour the yolks into the saucepan with the remaining milk and let it heat over medium heat, stirring constantly. Stirring like this is what makes the custard thicken. To prevent lumps from forming, use a whisk.
  7. When you have a thick and smooth cream, turn off the heat and remove the saucepan.
  8. Distribute the natilla in small bowls or individual containers and let it cool before putting the custard in the fridge.
  9. When serving the custard, sprinkle some cinnamon powder on top (optional).

Notes

Even though this has vanilla essence, it's not like the typical vanilla custard recipe since it also has a cinnamon stick and lemon peel.

However, if you want it to have a stronger vanilla custard taste, just use 2 teaspoons of vanilla paste and remove the lemon peel (keep the cinnamon because it is perfect).

The homemade custard should be in the fridge for 2 hours before you serve it so that it cools down well.

Some people prefer to eat it warm so at the end of the day you can choose your favorite way.

Nutrition Information

Yield

6

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 305Total Fat 7.1gSaturated Fat 3.4gCholesterol 188mgSodium 84mgCarbohydrates 55.1gFiber 1gSugar 49.2gProtein 8g

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