I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but growing up, I certainly enjoyed the many perks of my family owning a Spanish restaurant. Probably top of the list was being able to order anything I wanted from the menu. With each visit I’d try to order a different dish for my main course but dessert would always stay the same.
I’d always have the Natilla. I loved the look burnt sugar topping provoking me to give it a good hard crack and then my spoon surrendering to the velvety custard and sponge finger mix beneath.
I wanted to share with you the Natilla recipe I grew up with so I turned to one of my favourite Spanish cookbooks, The Food and Wines of Spain by Penelope Casas. I was surprised to find that her version of the Natilla was nothing like how we served it in the restaurant. While both desserts were custard based, her version didn’t have the sponge fingers I remembered, nor the burnt sugar topping. I did find in her book however, a recipe for Crema Catalana, which is a custard with a candied sugar coating – very similar to the French creme brulee except that this version was cooked over the stove rather than baked in the oven.
Fantastic! I thought to myself. My version of the Natilla would truly epitomize something that was originally Spanish, modified by my family, and then finally adapted by me for this month’s Kulinarya Cooking Club challenge. Thank you to Ziggy from My Filipino Kitchen and AC from Acdee who have come up with the theme of Filipino-Spanish dishes.
My Mango Natilla starts with a layer of rum soaked sponge fingers and then a rich blanket of a mango infused custard and finally topped with a burnt sugar topping. The technique of infusing the custard with mango was inspired from a recent visit to Etch restaurant in Sydney. This is where I had the most amazing banana creme brulee with a salted peanut butter brittle. I loved the idea of infusing the custard because with every spoonful you get the mango flavour without any of the pulp. The technique for infusing the custard I share with you today is from Bourke Street Bakery’s Cookbook.
This recipe makes two cazuelas.
- 350 ml cream
- 2 large ripe mangoes, peeled, sliced
- 40 grams sugar
- 5 egg yolks
- 10 sponge fingers
- 1 tablespoon good quality rum
- 10 grams sugar for the rum
- Sugar for topping
- Put the cream and mangoes in a saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Once the mixture boils, remove this from the heat and allow to cool. Tranfer to another container and allow the flavours to infuse overnight.
- The next day, remove the mangoes from the cream and reheat the infused cream over high heat before using and set aside.
- Lay the sponge fingers in the cazuelas. Mix the rum, 10 grams of sugar and 30 ml of water in a container and use a brush to spread over the sponge fingers.
- Place the yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk until combined. Place this mixture and the mango cream over a saucepan of simmering water and make sure that the base does not touch the water, otherwise it will curdle. Whisk the mixture until it becomes thick (like a custard), this will take around 15 minutes.
- Pour the mango infused custard over the sponge fingers and allow to cool. Place in the refrigerator and allow to set for one to two hours.
- Top with more sugar and use a blow torch to caramelize the top.
To make the mango custard in the Thermomix, after step 1, remove the mangoes from the cream and then place the sugar, egg yolks and infused cream in the thermomix at temperature 80c for 9 minutes of speed three with the butterfly attachment.
Lastly: It’s not too late to still enter my Savour Chocolate and Patisserie School giveaway! Open to residents in Australia – win either a $400 class voucher or 10 kilos of chocolates!