When the time rolls around for me to serve up lunch for the gang I always go back to the days in Nana’s kitchen. She cooked every Saturday and Sunday for the entire family… and let me tell you, that was a lot of people. It was a ritual I later found to be the one thing I loved most about my childhood. The menu was pretty basic for a Latin household: Spaghetti with meatballs and sausage, Arroz con Pollo, Boleche with Black Beans and Rice or if you were lucky, Spaghetti and a whole crab! This time around there was a request for my Nana’s Meatballs so to make things more interesting, I dug deep into the family recipe book to find the perfect dessert to go with the famous meatballs: Natilla. Most Americans call it Cornstarch Custard, not nearly as romantic as Natilla. So for the record here’s Nana Lea’s Natilla:
3 tablespoons cornstarch 6 tablespoons sugar 1/4 tsp salt 3 egg yolks 2 cups milk 1 tsp vanilla Lemon extract Mix cornstarch, sugar, and salt. Add enough cold milk to make a smooth paste. Then add rest of milk gradually. Add vanilla and about 4 drops of lemon extract. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring constantly. Add well beaten egg yolks. Cook for 3 minutes more.
Pour into pudding bowl half way and add Nilla Wafers. Top off and sprinkle with Cinnamon and chill.