Dessert • Sweet
Alongside buñuelos, this type of pudding is the traditional Christmas dessert in Colombia. You are expected to eat this every single night during the traditional novenas. When I was a kid, we would visit my grandparent’s place every Christmas, build a bonfire and cook enough natilla in a giant pan for the whole family. We, the kids, would be in charge of keeping the fire alive, stirring the natilla and licking the wooden spoons after it was done.
Pour 4 of the 5 cups of milk into a pot. Add all the sugar (or the Panela if you have it) and cinnamon sticks. Stir all ingredients, ideally with a wooden spoon. Bring it to boil over medium heat.
Meanwhile, mix the cornstarch with the remaining cup of milk until dissolved. Stir very well to avoid lumps!
When the pot of milk comes to a boil, remove it from the stove and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
Remove the cinnamon sticks and put the pot back on the stove over medium-low heat.
Pour the dissolved cornstarch into the hot milk and add butter. Some people like to add desiccated coconut or raisins, but I consider that a monstrosity.
Never stop stirring with your wooden spoon! You do not want any lumps or for the mix to burn. Around minute 8, you will notice that the mixture is thick enough to scrape the bottom of the pot and see its surface. This means it is ready.
Pour immediately into a large dish or different containers. It will take about an hour to cool down.
While you wait, you can join the tradition of eating what is left in the spoon and pot because that is half the fun.
Sprinkle with ground cinnamon before serving.