Its hard to believe that fall is just around the corner! You know what, that's just fine with me. Having grown up in Massachusetts, fall is the perfect time to think of my favorite cold weather foods.
None comes to mind quicker than the crema that my Abuela Elena used to make. According to Puerto Rican Cookery its name is Natilla (pronounced nah-tee'-ya) and it's classified as a cold custard dessert. But to me, it will always be a breakfast similar to oatmeal.
My abuela passed away when I was young, yet whenever I make this cold morning treat, I remember how I felt when my grandmother would place that warm plate in front of me. Unfortunately, food that comforts the soul does not always do well for the body and this natilla is no different.
The recipe is provided as it appears in the Puerto Rican Cookery, but as my mother pointed out, it can be adapted. For instance, as a child I was never a fan of the lime peel, so now I don't add it. My mother adds vanilla and decreases the amount of sugar. Both of us double the cornstarch to make it a little thicker, and as I've said before, we prefer it warm.
One thing I know for sure, I can't wait to share this with daughter, Elena, named for the the woman who inspired this recipe.
Group A 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1/8 teaspoon salt 2 egg yolks 2 cups milk
Group B 1/2 cup sugar 1 thin cinnamon stick 1 lime peel, rinsed and drained
In saucepan, blend cornstarch and salt with part of the milk. Add egg yolks and mix well. Add remaining milk and ingredients included in Group B. Place saucepan over moderate-high heat and bring to a brisk boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Remove immediately and strain into a dessert bowl or 4 individual cups. Allow to cool and set in refrigerator.