Crema Catalana is an easy custard that requires little effort to whip up, but does need a few hours to set before you finish it off with a caramelized sugar topping. Have you tried Crema Catalana before?
If you haven't tried this dessert, let’s introduce you to this is easy homemade custard that is infused with fresh citrus peel and a cinnamon stick and finished off with a caramelized sugar topping.
Why you'll love this
The homemade Spanish custard is light and creamy with undertones of citrus and cinnamon but still tasting like any beloved custard you’ll know.
No baking required
One of the best things about Crema Catalana dessert is the fact there is no baking required meaning you can get to worrying about the main course.
Ingredients and substitutions for Crema Catalana
- Milk: Whole milk is the base of this dish, resulting in that creamy custard and is recommended for making the custard as traditional as possible. If you prefer, a creamy dairy free milk would work, but would likely not have the same results. The weight of the milk in grams is 679.
- Sugar: Superfine or caster sugar is best here because of how easily it dissolves and ensures our mixture is smooth whilst adding sweetness without adding additional flavors to our custard. Raw sugar or light brown sugar are good substitutes, though the result might be a caramel flavor to the custard.
- Egg yolks: Adding structure and making our custard what it is, result in our rich and creamy custard with the large egg yolks weighing a total of 87 grams.
- Corn starch: Sometimes termed cornflour in certain parts of the globe. Corn starch is what gives our pudding that thick texture without being runny. It does need to be heated to 95C/203F before it is activated to thicken.
- Lemon and Orange peel: Firstly, it is recommended to wash your lemon and orange in warm filtered water and a teaspoon of baking soda for 5 minutes. Secondly, we only need a small piece of the peel to give your custard hints of both flavors.
- Cinnamon stick: The cinnamon stick results in a soft flavor of cinnamon through our custard alongside the light citrus flavors so it’s best not to skip on adding this also. In other words, if you only have ground cinnamon, add ¼ teaspoon to the cornflour and whisk into your eggs to infuse with the same flavor.
See recipe card for quantities.
Equipment needed to make this
Saucepan: A small saucepan is best here because you don’t need much to create these!
Whisk: This will help you to create a smooth custard.
Ramekins or clay pots: Small individual dishes are best for this Spanish custard gives every person who is served a chance to tap tap and break their own sugar topping.
FAQ's for the best Cream Catalana
What is the difference between Cream Catalana and Creme Brulee?
Creme Brulee and Cream Catalana are both custards made with egg yolks and sugar and topped with a caramelized sugar topping.
However, Creme Brulee is usually made with cream and is baked in a Bain Marie to set the custard. Crema Catalana meanwhile are made with whole milk and thickened in a saucepan with flour or cornstarch without any baking required.
A further key difference between Creme Brulee and Crema Catalana is that Brulee is traditionally flavored with vanilla bean whereas Crema Catalana is flavored with cinnamon sticks and Lemon and Orange peel.
Can I make Crema Catalana ahead?
Definitely! This custard is best served chilled so it's certainly best to make ahead and allow to chill until 1 or 2 hours before serving where you can make that caramelized sugar topping and serve no more than 2 hours later to ensure the topping is nice and crisp.
How to make Crema Catalana:
Place the milk, cinnamon, orange and lemon peel on medium high heat.
Meanwhile, whisk the sugar and egg yolks until well combined and smooth.
Add in the cornflour and whisk until smooth.
Pour a ladleful of hot milk into the egg yolks and combine.
Repeat by adding two more ladlefuls of hot milk to the eggs to ensure the yolks are heated slowly.
Remove the cinnamon stick and citrus peels and pour in the warm egg yolk mixture.
Heat on low and whisk until the custard is thickened to pudding consistency and leaves a heavy coating on the back of a spoon.
Remove from the heat and pour into your ramekins.
Cover with cling film or greaseproof paper and place in the fridge for several hours or preferably overnight.
Remove and sprinkle over 1 teaspoon of the sugar on top of each of your ramekins and place under a broiler or blowtorch until the sugar has dissolved, is golden and slightly burnt on the edges.
Serve and tap to dig in!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: +chill time 4 hours 15 minutes
- Yield: Serves 4
- Category: Desserts
- Cuisine: Spanish
A light custard with hints of citrus and cinnamon is this Spanish dessert that is no bake. This Crema Catalana recipe is great to make ahead and the caramelized sugar topping is a great way to finish the dish.
660 milliliters / 2 ¾ cups whole milk
1 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoon orange peel
1 tablespoon lemon peel
5 large egg yolks, room temperature
75 grams / ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon superfine/caster sugar
25 grams / ¼ cup cornflour
20 grams / 4 teaspoons superfine/caster sugar
- Place the milk, cinnamon, orange and lemon peel on medium high heat.
- Meanwhile, whisk the sugar and egg yolks until well combined and smooth.
- Add in the cornflour and whisk until smooth.
- Pour a ladleful of hot milk into the egg yolks and combine.
- Repeat by adding two more ladlefuls of hot milk to the eggs to ensure the yolks are heated slowly.
- Remove the cinnamon stick and citrus peels and pour in the warm egg yolk mixture.
- Heat on low and whisk until the custard is thickened to pudding consistency and leaves a heavy coating on the back of a spoon.
- Remove from the heat and pour into your ramekins.
- Cover with cling film or greaseproof paper and place in the fridge for several hours or preferably overnight.
- Remove and sprinkle over 1 teaspoon of the sugar on top of each of your ramekins and place under a broiler or blowtorch until the sugar has dissolved, is golden and slightly burnt on the edges.
- Serve and tap to dig in!
Adapted from Directo al Paladar
- Calories: 283 calories per serve
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