Best Souvenir from Travel to Cuba – Recipe for Coconut Natilla

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Keeping the roadways, airways, and waterways hot, I still have time to bring back souvenirs. I have my fair share of art, t-shirts, CDs, jewelry, and knickknacks; some would call me a well-traveled pack rat. However, the absolute best souvenirs from my travels are tasty and don’t break the bank.  I bring back recipes. They take up very little space in your luggage or home. Plus, you can share your stories with your friends and family around a table with your souvenir as the highlight.

This year, I have spent over 70 days in Cuba. I have eaten kilos of roasted pork, arroz congris (Cuban rice and beans), and of course enjoyed plenty of Cuban rum, cigars, and coffee. However, the recipe that I chose to bring back as my ultimate souvenir is a dessert.  Two wonderful women, Dalia and Consuelo, shared their family’s Coconut Natilla recipe with me. I think you will find their natilla as a creamy, tropical delight and easy to make.Cuban_Cuisine_Coconut_Natilla

Coconut Natilla

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 25-30 minutes
  • Total time: 40 minutes


  • 8 Egg Yolks
  • 2 Cups of Whole Milk
  • 4 tsp of Corn Starch (diluted into 1/2 cup of water)
  • 1 tsp of Coconut Flavoring
  • 1 stick of Cinnamon and Ground Cinnamon for finished natilla
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 cup of Sugar


  • Bring milk, salt, cinnamon stick, and coconut flavor to a boil
  • Remove from heat and let decrease to room temperature
  • Mix eggs, sugar, and diluted cornstarch in a separate bowl
  • Once the milk mixture has cooled, mix all together (Remove the cinnamon stick)
  • Place the combined mixture on the stove & bring up to medium heat until thick
  • Dish the thickened natilla into a serving bowl or 4 separate serving dishes, sprinkle with ground cinnamon, & chill

A big thank you to my two Cuban friends in Playa Larga that prepared this dessert for me many times. I will miss you both. And with this recipe, I have a way to relive and share my Cuba travel memories anytime.

So, what am I waiting for? And, what are you waiting for? Let’s go make some Coconut Natilla! I bet there won’t be leftovers.

As always, stay up-to-date on more adventure travel stories and tips from Cuba, Kauai, Quebec, Peru, Finger Lakes, and more by connecting with me on FacebookTwitter, Google+, and YouTube.

Here’s to more good times and good stories.

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