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  • Writer's pictureJeff & Jo's


Updated: Jul 16, 2020

Tembleque is a coconut custard that is flavored with cinnamon and cloves. This dessert is very common in Puerto Rico around Christmas. We had the privilege of having Jo's mom share her version of this delicious dessert with us.


Spice Solution

1/2 cup water

1 cinnamon stick

4 cloves


3 cups coconut milk

1/4 tsp salt

6 tbs sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbs Spice Solution

4.5 tbs cornstarch

ground cinnamon, to top


The first thing I do is make a solution, which has the spices that are going to provide the aroma and flavor for the tembleque. So I bring to boil our water, along with our cinnamon and cloves. As soon as it begins to boil hard, I turn it off, then put on the lid, and put it aside so the spices can release their aroma and flavor.

After preparing the spice solution, lets move on to the next step, which is mixing the coconut milk with the sugar and salt. One important thing is that in this step we are going to mix the ingredients while they are cold. Because if it gets any heat, the mixture will form clumps and the tembleque won't turn out right.

So let's add the coconut milk, the sugar and salt. And let's start to mix it, in order to homogenize the mixture of the coconut milk and the sugar and salt. Now we are going to add the corn starch little by little. Then, we'll proceed to mix it with the milk and sugar.

Now we've mixed the coconut milk, the sugar and salt, and the corn starch. Now we are going to add the vanilla and the spice solution that we made. And then, we'll go ahead and mix all of that. Now we are going to cook it on medium heat until it reaches what we in Puerto Rico refer to as "the point." That's when the corn starch starts to really give the tembleque body--it begins to thicken the tembleque. During this part of the process, you need to stirring the liquid, that tembleque, the entire time. So it doesn't develop clumps.

You want to start heating your tembleque mixture over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until it begins to thicken. You’ll know know that it has reached “the point” when it starts to feel like you are stirring pancake batter and the mixture clings to the back of a spoon when you dip it in. At this point, turn your stove down to low and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. During this phase, your mixture will continue to thicken and you should notice bubbles forming as the liquid evaporates.

Now, the tembleque is done. We are going to put it into the container we are going to keep it in to let it cool down to room temperature.

Once it reaches room temperature, then we are going to put it into the fridge for an hour or two.

Take it out of the fridge and sprinkle it with cinnamon - as much or as little as you like.


Check out our instructional video, showing how to make this recipe step-by-step HERE.

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