Bon dia! (Good morning in Catalan!) 🙂
March 19th, is Father’s Day in Spain. It’s also know as Sant Josep (Saint Joseph’s Day), and in Catalonia, this is the day that you would eat this dessert. It’s called Crema Catalana (“Catalan Cream”).
Nowadays, it’s consumed at all times of the year.
I guess some of you may think, “Isn’t it the same as creme brulee?” NO! It’s different. Even though they share some of the same ingredients; eggs, milk or cream and sugar. Creme brulee is baked and Crema Catalana is cooked on the stove top. Also, for creme brulee you use whipped cream and vanilla. For Crema Catalana, you use cinnamon and no heavy cream, just milk. So, it has some different flavors and uses a different technique. I have even heard that Crema Catalana is one of the oldest desserts in Europe, and the French borrowed the recipe and made it their own in Creme Brulee.
If you are in Spain, you can easily find this in many restaurants, but mostly in Catalonia, as this is where this recipe originates.
This is a very easy recipe, and one that is also quick to make. Traditionally, it’s served in a terra cota cazuela, a type of ramekin. I don’t have any cazuelas, so I used the ramekins that I have, and they work perfectly.
– 4 cups milk (2% or whole)
– 6 egg yolks (large eggs), 8 if they are small.
– 1/3 cup of cornstarch
– lemon zest
– 1 cup sugar, and a little extra to burn on the top
– 1 large cinnamon stick (2 small)
Pour 3 cups of milk into a large pot and cook over medium heat. Add the lemon zest (I used a vegetable peeler) and the cinnamon stick. Try not to peel any of the white part of the lemon.
Whisk the egg yolks, then add the remaining cup of milk, sugar and cornstarch.
Cook the milk until it just starts to boil, then remove the lemon skin and the cinnamon sticks from the warm milk. Lower the heat and continue cooking, but don´t boil the milk.
Place a strainer on top of the pot and pour the egg yolk mixture (no egg shells!) into the heated milk. Stir until it gets a consistent texture. It should be fairly thick, not liquidy. I like to use the wooden spoon method. (Once It coats the spoon and sticks to it, it’s done).
Pour the mixture into the ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and let them cool down. Once they are at room temperature, put them into the refrigerator.
When you’re ready to serve them, sprinkle the tops with sugar and use a torch to brown the sugar. This will give a nice burnt sugar taste and a crunchy texture. It’s ok if you don´t have a torch, it´s also delicious without the sugar on top.
Enjoy, and BON PROFIT! 🙂