I love desserts! Do I have a favourite? Without a doubt it would have to be Creme Brulee or the Spanish equivalent – Crema Catalana. Once you have tapped into the thin crispy caramel topping you have the silky smooth custard underneath. Absolute perfection. This Crema Catalan recipe is a really easy recipe that has never failed me.
The lighter sister of the French Cremé Brulee ist the perfect dessert after a dinner with friends or family.
The Spanish Crema Catalan is slightly easier to make because they add cornflour which helps to set the custard.
How to get the perfect crust
The caramelization process has to be really quick so that you don’t heat up the custard underneath (this would make it too runny) and I have never found a household grill hot enough to do this. Both my Mum and I are dedicated to our Brulees and have stepped up a notch and use plumbing torches – perfect brulee in seconds.
Can Can I keep leftovers?
The custard base can be made 1 to 2 days in advance but once you caramelize the topping it cannot go back in the refrigerator and needs to be eaten within half an hour or so.
The last thing I need to say is: Please don’t miss out on the step of straining the custard. Even if you have made a perfect, lump free custard you still need to strain out the lemon zest to get that silky smooth result.
- 150 g caster sugar
- 4 tsp cornflour
- 6 large egg yolks
- 750 ml carton full fat milk
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 cinnamon stick broke in half
- extra caster sugar for the topping
- Put the milk, zest, and cinnamon in a pan and heat gently until it reaches boiling point.
- Remove from the heat.
- Mix the caster sugar and the cornflour in a bowl.
- Stir in the egg yolks until smooth – do not whisk or the mixture will form a froth.
- Pour the cream mixture onto the egg mixture, stirring to combine well.
- Rinse out the pan and return the mixture to it.
- Stir over low heat for 5 minutes until thickened. It must not cook!
- Set aside for 30 minutes to infuse and thicken further.
- Strain into a large jug and pour it into your serving dishes.
- Cover with cling wrap and chill overnight or longer to set
- Just before serving – sprinkle some caster sugar evenly over the top of the custards and caramelize quickly with a cooks blowtorch
- As the caramel cools, it will harden
- Eat within half an hour but do not chill in the refrigerator as this will cause the caramel crust to soften