• AlterTheater

Recipe Book: Diana's Colombian Natilla

Playwright and Literary Manager Diana Burbano shared this recipe for natilla:

"Coming to the US, everything was unfamiliar, especially the taste of the food. The milk tasted odd, no one had heard of arepas (a corncake staple of Colombian food) and bologna sandwiches were a staple. My abuelita would come to visit us and her HUGE suitcases would be filled with treats: buñuelos, arepas, obleas, and for Christmas, the traditional fixings for natilla—this firm milk custard infused with cinnamon. Even when I had lived in the US longer than I had in Colombia, food became the thing that reactivated my longing for home. This natilla is especially good with traditional chocolaté, or a nice little tot of Ron de Coco."

Makes 1 Natilla, 9 inches round (8 to 10 slices)


• 2 cups whole milk

• ½ cup shredded panela or dark muscovado sugar (or more brown sugar)

• ½ cup brown sugar

• 3 cinnamon sticks or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• ½ cup cornstarch

• 1 cup whole milk

• ¼ cup raisins

• 2 tablespoons butter

• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


• In a medium saucepan, over low heat, simmer 2 cups of milk, sugars and cinnamon sticks for 5 minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks.

• In a small bowl, mix together cornstarch and 1 cup of milk.

• Turn the heat to medium-high and add the cornstarch mixture. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens.

• Lower the heat and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir constantly so that the cornstarch doesn’t clump.

• Turn off the heat. Add the raisins and butter. Mix well and pour into a 9-inch round pan. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.

• Before serving, sprinkle with some ground cinnamon.

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