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.
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
- Open vanilla bean and scrape beans. Add to a pan with milk, cream, orange zest, and cinnamon. Add the whole bean as well.
- Bring to a boil over low heat.
- Remove from the heat and let it cool down.
- Strain the milk and cream mixture to remove the vanilla bean, orange peel strips and cinnamon stick.
- Mix the egg yolks and ½ cup of regular sugar until you obtain a thick creamy mixture.
- Dissolve the cornstarch in ¼ cup of milk mixture, the stir it back into the remaining milk.
- 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.
- Cool the cream and pour into the ramekins or cazuelas.
- Chill for 24 hours or overnight.
- 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.
- Serve immediately.