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Crema Catalana

Updated: Jun 16

Two ramekins containing Crema Catalana authentic Spanish dessert recipe

I'm so excited to share this simple yet scrumptious recipe with you as this dessert is considered a classic among several cultures across the globe. According to the Oxford Companion of Sugar and Sweets, there's been much debate as to which country can claim original creation rights for this understated dessert as the French, English and Catalonians seem to claim themselves as the respective originator. This dessert also goes by quite a few names, "Creme Brulee" or "Burnt Cream" to name a couple. Regardless of where in the world you hail from, this delectable dessert has managed to land itself on the top spot of many restaurant menus and now in your home. Bon Appetit ! Good Appetite! ¡Buen Provecho!

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Ingredients used to prepare Crema Catalana: large egg yolks, whole milk, one strip of lemon and orange peel, one cinnamon stick, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, table salt and cornstarch

4 large egg yolks

1/2 cup (99 grams) granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoons (27 grams) set aside for caramelizing custard tops

1/4 cup (36 grams) cornstarch

2 cups whole milk

1 strip of lemon peel (with pith removed)

1 strip of orange peel (with pith removed)

1 stick of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract


Equipment used to prepare Crema Catalana: Culinary butane torch, adjustable measuring spoon, dry measuring cups, 2 quart saucepan, whisk, pyrex liquid measuring cup and oven safe ramekins

The following list includes some kitchen tools I find myself using several times over across a variety of cooking and baking recipes. I've spotlighted the items pictured above as I believe they'll streamline your preparation time for this recipe and allow you to focus on the fun of whipping up this tasty treat.

1. Of all the kitchen gadgets and tools featured in this post, the culinary torch is the most fun to utilize. It goes without saying to exercise caution when using this device; and if it's your first time using a food torch, I suggest you practice getting the feel of it before using it on one of your filled ramekin dishes.

2. Wire whisk ranging between 8 - 11 inches is the ideal size for whipping and aerating ingredients.

3. 1 quart saucepan - this size is large enough to thoroughly combine and cook up the ingredients called for in this recipe. I recommend utilizing one with an aluminum core as it'll efficiently distribute heat and evenly cook the custard.

4. This adjustable measuring spoon by KitchenArt is one of my favorite go-to kitchen tools as its space-saving design, removes the need for multiple measuring spoons as it adjusts to measurements of 1/2 tsp. up to 1 full tablespoon.

5. Not all measuring cups are created equal as dry measuring cups are designed to primarily measure dry ingredients like flour, sugar, cornstarch and nuts, to name a few. When you measure your ingredients it should be leveled off with a flat edge to yield you a more accurate measure.

6. I used 6 ounce oven safe porcelain ramekins for this recipe; however, if you have smaller/larger sized ramekins, go for it and adjust your serving size accordingly.

7. 1 or 2 cup capacity liquid measuring cup - my go to brand for this item is Pyrex as it's oven, microwave, fridge, freezer and dishwasher safe and is also rated as the "best" liquid measuring cup as per Cook's Illustrated. Liquid measuring cups typically have a spout, which allows you to pour a liquid into the cup and reach your desired measurement line without spilling.


Steps to make crema catalana/creme brulee adding egg yolks whisking until smooth and adding granulated sugar
  1. Add 4 egg yolks to the saucepan.

  2. Whisk egg yolks until smooth.

  3. Add 1/2 cup granulated sugar to the saucepan.

  4. Beat egg yolks and granulated sugar with a wire whisk until thoroughly combined.

Steps to make crema catalana/creme brulee pouring whole milk, cornstarch, whisking until combined.

5. Pour whole milk into the saucepan.

6. Add cornstarch to the mix.

7. Whisk all ingredients until thoroughly combined.

8. Add salt to the saucepan.

Steps to make crema catalana/creme brulee cooking custard

9. Add one strip of lemon peel with the pith removed.

10. Add one strip of orange peel with the pith removed.

11. Add one cinnamon stick to the saucepan.

12. Using a spoon, combine all ingredients and set heat to medium, stirring constantly.

Steps to make crema catalana/creme brulee orange, lemon, cinnamon and vanilla extract

13. Once custard has reached a thickened consistency, remove the saucepan from

heat allow the custard to cool for approximately one minute.

14. Add vanilla extract to the saucepan and stir until blended.

15. Remove cinnamon stick from the saucepan.

16. Remove the strip of lemon andorange peel from the saucepan.

Steps to make crema catalana/creme brulee

17. This step is optional though I highly recommend following as it'll result in a smooth

custard. Set a strainer over a medium sized bowl and using a spoon/silicone spatula,

pour the custard into the strainer and press it through the strainer.

18. Spoon the custard into the ramekin dishes and allow it to cool for

approximately half an hour. You can also cover the ramekins and refrigerate overnight

if preferred.

19. Sprinkle a half tablespoon of granulated sugar over each filled ramekin dish.

20. Using a lit culinary torch, slowly zig-zag across the top of the sugar covered

custard until caramelized.

Video Tutorial

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