A beloved treat during the Christmas season, natilla is a sweet custard that can be enjoyed any time of year.
Natilla is a rich, custard-like dessert thickened with cornstarch and flavored with panela (raw, unrefined cane sugar). It can be found in Spain and many countries in Latin America, and is traditionally enjoyed at Christmas, especially in Colombia. Natilla can be also vary in consistency. It can be gelatinous (served up in tender slices) or creamy (served as a pudding). Many recipes include shredded fresh coconut, raisins, or nuts, or some combination of the three.
Place milk in a small bowl and add the cornstarch. Stir to dissolve.
Add the coconut milk and vanilla. Mix until smooth.
Bring a pot over medium heat and add the milk mix and cinnamon sticks. Boil over medium-low heat.
When the milk starts boiling, add the condensed milk, panela, sugar and salt. Stir well.
Reduce the heat to low and continue stirring until the Natilla thickens, about 10 minutes. Add the butter, stir and remove from heat.
Discard the cinnamon sticks. Ladle into a serving dish or individual custard cups. Sprinkle cinnamon powder and raisins on top and let it cool at room temperature for at least 2 hours. Refrigerate until ready to serve or store in glass containers.