There have been many times throughout my life when I’ve declared that I don’t like something, and then later had to bite my tongue after discovering that yes, actually, I do.  This has happened with mushrooms: slimy nastiness, I declared, and then later discovered, well prepared, perhaps sautéed with garlic and other spices, are actually quite exquisite.  It’s happened with peanut butter: sticky smelly yuckiness that I discovered I quite liked in Thai peanut sauces and chocolate peanut butter balls.  And, more recently, it’s happened with egg yolks.

While I still can’t stomach a plain old yolk, I’ve come to like it in certain dessert forms.  The Spanish use yolks a lot in desserts, and “Natillas” is one of my favorites.


flavor with one of the following:

one cinnamon stick

lemon peels

one vanilla bean

1 liter milk (about 4 1/4 cups)

4 eggs

4 spoonfuls of sugar (to your taste)

Heat the milk along with the cinnamon stick, lemon peel or vanilla bean (this is to add flavor to the milk and will later be removed).  Don’t boil the milk.  Once heated, remove the cinnamon stick/lemon peel/vanilla bean.  Remove from the stove and let rest for fifteen minutes.

In a separate bowl, beat the yolk with the sugar (you can use either whole eggs or just the yolks, to your preference).  Add the eggs to the milk, beating continuously over a low flame until it reaches a thick, creamy, pudding-like consistency.

Remove from flame and let cool.

Natillas are often served sprinkled with cinnamon and accompanied by a María cookie.