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Basque Sweet Cream - Natillas

1 quart heavy cream
2 cinnamon sticks
6 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
ground cinnamon

In a saucepan, combine the cream and cinnamon sticks, and bring
them to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, and
cook gently for about 10 minutes, until the cream is well infused
with the cinnamon. Set the pan aside so the cream can cool. In a
bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla until they are
well mixed. Add the cream and cinnamon sticks, and whisk well.
Heat 1 to 2 inches of water in the bottom pan of a double boiler,
and transfer custard mixture to the top pan, or set the bowl over
a saucepan containing 1 to 2 inches of hot water. Bring the water
to a boil, and cook the sauce, stirring constantly, for about 30
minutes or until it thickens, adding more hot water to the bottom
pan if necessary. Remove the top pan or the bowl from over the hot
water, and let the custard cool.

Strain the cooled custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a glass
or ceramic container, and refrigerate the natillas for at least 4
hours, until it is cool. Stir before serving, adding a little more
heavy cream if necessary to smooth the natillas. Divide it among
six custard cups or transfer it to a pitcher to use as a sauce.
Serve the natillas sprinkled with cinnamon.

Makes 5 to 6 cups; serves 6.


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