Crema catalana ('Catalan cream'), crema cremada ('Burnt cream') or crema de Sant Josep, is a Catalan dish similar to crème brûlée.
It is traditionally served on Saint Joseph's Day, March 19, although nowadays it is consumed at all times of year.
The custard is flavored with lemon or orange zest, and cinnamon.
The sugar in crema catalana is traditionally caramelized under an iron broiler, never with a flame.
Crema catalana has inspired some other Catalan dishes, including Torró de crema (consumed during Christmas time) and crema catalana liqueur (source: Wikipedia).
2 hours, 25 minutes
Crema catalana ingredients:
lemon/orange (only the zest is used)
Preparation of crema catalana:
Put the milk in a saucepan with the cinnamon, lemon zest (or orange zest) and salt, bring to the boil over low heat
Remove from the heat and strain after 5 minutes
In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks together with the (strained) cornstarch and the first mentioned amount of sugar, until the mixture is creamy
Add the flavored milk bit by bit, whisking until evenly colored
Slowly heat the mixture until it begins to thicken, take care that the mixture does not boil
Fill 4 ramekins evenly with the cream
Cool to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours
Just before serving, preheat the broiler
Uncover the ramekins and soak up any condensation with paper toweling
Sprinkle the last-mentioned amount of sugar evenly on each ramekin and caramelize by placing under the broiler briefly until the sugar melts and turns brown
Serve immediately, otherwise the caramelized crust will soften
This recipe can be made in advance: leave the cream in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve. Then, caramelize the sugar and serve.
Add freshly grated nutmeg (1/4 tsp) for a more spicy crema catalana.
Click here for tips and techniques for preparing crème catalan.