Crema Catalana

Crema Catalana is like a Crème brûlée. The significant difference being that it is flavored with citrus and cinnamon; the custard is set by chilling; and the topping is broiled. It is considered a Catalan national desert and has appeared in several medieval catalan recipe books. So of course it’s also popular in Andorra.

The recipe says to add a vanilla bean. Typically I have scraped the bean and then added it when I cook with a vanilla bean, but I decided to follow instructions. I notice my broth is not all beanie like the recipe sites picture, so I cut open the bean and scrape out the beans. Otherwise it is a straightforward custard recipe. The kitchen smells of vanilla and cinnamon.  I let it set and then add raw sugar on top and I am ready to broil.



I have a gas stove and find my broiler to be a bit scary. Anyway I put them in the oven and the sugar doesn’t seem to melt at all, even after a few minutes. I play with positioning of the ramekins and get them under the direct flame and finally get a good crust.



The result is yummy! It is creamy and rich. With the hints of orange, cinnamon and vanilla shining through. My friends fought over the extra one I made.



Crema Catalana

Original recipe can be found here

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/2 orange zest
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 8 egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup turbinado or raw sugar
  • 3 tbs corn starch


  1. Open vanilla bean and scrape beans. Add to a pan with milk, cream, orange zest, and cinnamon. Add the whole bean as well.
  2. Bring to a boil over low heat.
  3. Remove from the heat and let it cool down.
  4. Strain the milk and cream mixture to remove the vanilla bean, orange peel strips and cinnamon stick.
  5. Mix the egg yolks and ½ cup of regular sugar until you obtain a thick creamy mixture.
  6. Dissolve the cornstarch in ¼ cup of milk mixture, the stir it back into the remaining milk.
  7. Mix the milk in with the eggs and sugar, place it in a double boiler pan (or in a heat resistant glass bowl in a pan of water baño Maria style) over medium low heat, and stirring consistently until the cream thickens, do not let it boil.
  8. Cool the cream and pour into the ramekins or cazuelas.
  9. Chill for 24 hours or overnight.
  10. When ready to serve sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the raw sugar over each ramekin  place it under the broiler in the oven for a few minutes until sugar is caramelized.
  11. Serve immediately.



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