Crema Catalana, also known as burnt cream, is a traditional Spanish dessert characterized by its citrus and cinnamon aroma and crunchy caramelized crust.
This dessert originated in Catalonia, a region in northeastern Spain, during the Middle Ages.
I love the Spanish food and what my country land offers to our gastronomy. If you have ever been to Spain, you know it has different climates and landscapes from north to south and from east to west. Therefore, we have a rich gastronomic culture since every region provides its own ingredients and culinary specialties.
Crema Catalana vs. Crème Brûlée
Although crema catalana and crème brûlée belong to the same family of custards and both are called “burnt creams” ( they are topped with burnt sugar), there are certain differences between them.
Crema catalana is a Spanish dessert made with cornstarch and cooked on the stove, while crême brûlée is a French dessert baked in the oven and no cornstarch is needed. Another difference is that lemon and cinnamon are used to flavor the crema catalana, while vanilla is used to flavor the creme brûlée.
History of Crema Catalana
Crema Catalana is believed to be one of the oldest recorded desserts in Europe. The first written reference to Crema Catalana appears in a medieval cookbook called Llibre de Sent Soví, which was written in the 14th century. This first known recipe calls for milk, sugar, egg yolks, and cornstarch, which are all ingredients that are still used today.
It was also mentioned in Llibre del Coch, a 16th-century medieval recipe book. Crema Catalana has since become an iconic Spanish dessert often served during special occasions, such as St. Joseph’s Day, aka Father’s Day in Spain, which is celebrated on March 19th.
Is This Dessert Gluten Free ?
Yes! Catalan cream is made with cornstarch, the flour is corn-based, not wheat-based; therefore, it is gluten-free. This dessert is suitable for celiacs.
Crema catalana is usually served in the typical clay dishes. It is a porpular traditional Spanish dessert, like arroz con leche or Spanish rice pudding, and it is part of our rich gastronomic heritage.
If you have never made this homemade dessert, and you are wondering how to make crema catalana, I assure you that it is very easy to make it.
How To Make Crema Catalana
1. In a saucepan, pour a liter of milk and add in a cinnamon stick and a lemon peel. It is important that the lemon peel has no white as it bitters.
2. Put it over high heat and, when it starts to boil, lower the heat and let it cook for 5 more minutes. Set aside with the saucepan covered, so that the milk continues to take on the flavor.
3. Separate 8 egg yolks from 8 egg whites. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks and ¾ cups of granulated sugar with a hand held mixer at medium speed until foamy and pale yellow.
4. Add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch into the egg yolk mixture and beat with the hand mixer until well integrated.
5. Pour the milk into the mixture through a sieve, removing the cinnamon stick and the lemon peel. Whisk with the hand held for one second .
6. Once you have all the mixture integrated, put it back on the stove over a medium heat. Stir with a whisk until it starts to boil. You will see that it begins to thicken, but don´t let it get too thick because when it chills it will also thicken and we want it to be creamy.
7. As soon as you see the first boiling bubbles, remove it from the heat and pour it into traditional clay dishes.
8. Allow the custard to cool at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Then, put it to chill in the refrigerator for 3 hours. Keep in mind this resting time in case you want to serve the cream the same day or overnight.
How and When Do I Caramelize Crema Catalana ?
9. Just before serving. I recommend taking crema catalana out of the fridge half an hour before eating it, so you can enjoy savouring its creaminess. Then, using a spoon, sprinkle a thin layer of sugar over the top of each dish. Bring the blue flame of a small kitchen blowtorch close to the sugar until it first becomes liquid and then golden brown. This is why it’s also known as burnt cream, and it’s how you get a crunchy, caramelized crust on top of the custard.
I Don’t Have A Blowtorch!
Don´t worry, you can burn the sugar in the oven, putting crema catalana as close as possible to the broiler. First, preheat the oven to 428ºF (220ºC), and when it reaches the temperature, sprinkle the sugar onto the cream and, immediately, put it in under the broiler for a few minutes. Be careful not to burn it! It might not get the same results as with the blowtorch, but it will work.
More Traditional Spanish Custard Recipes
If you liked this crema catalana recipe, I invite you to try these traditional Spanish custard desserts.
Flan:This classic Spanish dessert consists of egg custard baked in a water bath and topped with caramel sauce.
Natillas: This Spanish custard dessert is made with basic ingredients.
From one delicious dessert comes another delicious dessert. While making this crema catalana, I had eight egg whites left over. What should I cook with these egg whites? The answer was a delicious pavlova .
Authentic Crema Catalana Recipe
Crema Catalana is a delicious traditional dessert of the Spanish cuisine.
1tablespoonsugar per serving for caramelized crustoptional
In a saucepan, add milk, a cinnamon stick and a lemon peel.
Put it over high heat and when it starts to boil, lower the heat and let it cook for 5 more minutes. Set aside with the saucepan covered.
Separate 8 egg yolks from 8 egg whites. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar with a hand held mixer at medium speed until foamy and pale yellow.
Add 2 tablespoons of cornflour to the mixture and beat with the hand mixer until well integrated.
pour the milk into the mixture through a sieve, removing the cinnamon stick and the lemon peel. Whisk with the hand mixer for one second.
Once you have all the mixture integrated, put it back on the stove over a medium heat. Stir with a whisk until it starts to boil.
As soon as you see the first boiling bubble, remove it from the heat and pour it into traditional clay dishes.
Deja que se atempere 10 minutos y metes la crema en la nevera durante 3 horas hasta que repose y enfríe.
Before serving, sprinkle a thin layer of sugar over the top of each dish with a spoon and burn the sugar with a small kitchen blowtorch to caramelize the thin layer. Et voilà! You have just made a delicious crema catalana!
We have a new cake section on the blog! And we launch it with this lemon yogurt cake recipe.
This recipe for lemon yogurt cake has a very special place in my recipe book, as it was the first dessert I ever made in my life!
If you are getting started in baking, I recommend you to try making this super easy lemon yogurt.
In the summers of my childhood, my parents had to work most of the time and used to take my siblings and me to my grandmother’s house in the countryside, in Arcos de la Frontera. And one way to liven up the afternoons was to have sponge cake competitions among the cousins.
The only recipe I knew by then recipe was this lemon yogurt cake recipe. Making this lemon yogurt cake could not be easier. All I needed was to use a container of lemon yogurt as a measure and to remember the 1, 2, 3. One container of sunflower oil, two containers of sugar and three containers of flour. And it always came out moist an flavourful.
The utensils we used back then were a clay bowl and a fork. And the ingredients were 100% natural: free range eggs and lemons straight from the tree. It was without a doubt my favourite summer plan!
Whenever I make this cake I always go back in time and become that little girl cook who was making her first steps in the kitchen.
The competition prize consisted of eating the winning cake with my siblings and cousins. All I had to do was follow the recipe scrupulously and success was guaranteed!
I can still remember when I used to be engrossed in watching the sponge cake grow in the oven. It was magic for me. How could such a fluffy lemon sponge cake come out of a mixture of simple ingredients.
Lemon Yogurt Cake Recipe
1. Preheat the oven to 356°F ( 180°C ).
2. In a bowl, add 120 grams of lemon yogurt and use the yogurt container as a measure. In the same bowl, add 1 yogurt container of sunflower oil ( 100 ml ), 2 yogurt containers of sugar ( 180 grams ), 3 yogurt containers of flour ( 165 grams), three eggs, half a lemon peel and 16 grams of baking powder.
3. Whisk the mixture with a hand mixer until combined.
4. Grease a 10-inch loaf pan with butter and then sprinkle flour on top of the butter. This will help you unmold the cake later.
5. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 45 minutes (without opening the oven door). When the time is up insert a cake tester (or a knife) into the center of the yogurt cake to check whether it is done. If the tester comes out clean … Et voilà! And just like that you have made a delicious lemon yogurt cake!
If you liked this homemade cake recipe, try making also this marble cake.
Lemon Yogurt Cake 1.2.3 Recipe
Making this lemon yogurt cake could not be easier. All you need is to use a container of lemon yogurt as a measure and to remember the 1, 2, 3.
1lemon yogurt( 120 grams – use the same container as a measure )
1containersunflower oil( 100 ml )
2containerssugar( 180 gr )
3containersflour( 165 gr )
Precalienta el horno a 180º arriba y abajo.
In a bowl, add one lemon yogurt and keep the container to use a as a measure. In the same bowl, add 1 container of sunflower oil, 2 containers of sugar, 3 containers of flour, three eggs, half a lemon peel and 16 grams of baking powder.
Whisk the mixture with a hand mixer until combined.
Grease a 10-inch loaf pan with butter and then sprinkle flour on top of the butter.
our the batter into the pan and bake for 45 minutes. When the time is up insert a cake tester into the center of the cake to check whether it is done. If the tester comes out clean … Et voilà! And just like that you have made a delicious lemon yogurt cake!
I have cooked many cakes before, and I have to say this chocolate birthday cake is D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S.
This chocolate birthday cakerecipe has been passed down from generation to generation in Victor’s family. And now his grandmother, Nona as they call her, has shared it with her children and grandchildren.
He is particularly fond of this chocolate cake. It reminds him of his childhood, and nowadays he still enjoys eating it as if he was six years old.
Before I tried it, he had always told me that there was no other cake like it, that it was, by far, the best chocolate cake I would ever try. One day, I was so intrigued that I felt the urge to taste it… Now, that I have already tasted it, I invite you to try it and tell me what you think!
In many Spanish restaurants, you can find this tarta de cumpleaños ( birthday cake in Spanish ) as dessert on their menu, and it is decorated with lacasitos sweets and other toppings to give it a colourful touch. For many people, it is the perfect cake for birthdays; both children and adults love it. Nonetheless, you can make it for other special events, too.
When I was planning the cake photoshoot, I thought of decorating it with lacasitos like the others. Victor stopped me in my tracks and said: “No Lacasitos”; therefore, we went out shopping to buy a cake plate to show it´s category. Now I understand him. It is spectacularly delicious.
If you are a chocoholic, and you love chocolate desserts, this no bake chocolate cake will become one of your favorites.
For those less chocoholics, it can be served with a little cream to reduce the chocolatey taste. Even so, this is still a to-die-for chocolate cake.
Spanish Chocolate Birthday Cake Recipe
1. Break 300 grams of milk chocolate and 150 grams of dark chocolate in a glass bowl and melt it in bain-marie. How? Fill a saucepan with water and put it on the stove. Then, place the glass bowl on top of the saucepan, keeping it from touching the water. With the hot water, without bringing it to the boil, stir with a whisk until the chocolate melts. Set aside.
2. In a separate bowl, cream 150 grams of butter, 150 grams of sugar and 6 egg yolks. Beat with a hand held mixer.
3. Add the mixture into the chocolate and stir with a spatula until integrated. It is important that the chocolate is not too hot.
4. Whip 200 grams of cream with the hand held mixer for 3 minutes until thickened.
5. Add the chocolate into the whipped cream and mix very well.
6. Pour the milk into a deep dish and then dip the Maria cookies in it to soften them.
7. Line 8 inch cake pan with parchment paper.
8. Fill the cake pan with the mixture and biscuits, making sure you don´t leave gaps. The order is the following: biscuits – mixture – biscuits – mixture – biscuits – mixture.
9. Once you’ve assembled the cake, put it in the fridge overnight so that it’s ready for the next day. Et voilà … You have cooked a delicious chocolate birthday cake!
This summer in Vivero, the most popular dessert in my family has been the lemon mousse with condensed milk.
I asked my aunt Carmela to teach me how to make this dessert since it is easy to make, fresh and creamy. Furthermore, it can be stored for several days in the fridge.
Ever since I can remember, I have always spent my summers in Vivero. It is a family tradition that I will try to pass on to my children.
Summers in northern Spain are usually cold and rainy; however, this summer of 2021… has been awesomely sunny! And that’s why this dessert has conquered us all!
I am very happy to share with you this easy lemon mousse recipe.
When Should I Make This Lemon Mousse Recipe ?
My recommendation for you is to make this lemon mousse with condensed milk at least 6 hours before eating it. It tastes even better one or two days after making it because the mixture will be more settled and tasty.
How to Make Lemon Mousse with Condensed Milk
In a bowl, add 370 grams of condensed milk and 4 plain sugar free Greek yogurts. Mix all together with a spatula.
Grate 4 lemons. Remember not to grate the white part of the lemon peel because it is bitter. Set aside the lemon zest.
Squeeze the lemons and pour the resulting lemon juice to the yogurt mixture while stirring with a whisk.
Add the zest of the lemons to this mixture and keep stirring.
When the mixture is well combined, serve in small glasses.
To decorate and give this dessert an even fresher touch, grate a little lime over the top of the mousse.
Put it to chill in the fridge for 4 hours. You can wrap each glass with cling film to better protect the mixture and to keep it from absorbing odors.
Did you like this mousse? If you want to go a step further and make this mousse for special events, I challenge you to try this mousse with crumble!
Nougat mousse is an elegant and simple dessert that will give a delicious touch to your meals at Christmas time.
If you are bored eating nougat from a tablet, maybe it´s about time to try this original and delicious way to eat this classic Christmas treat: in a glass and with a spoon.
What is Nougat?
The origins of nougat in Spain date back to the time of the Muslims who inhabited the Iberian Peninsula from 711 to 1492. It was probably the Moorish people who introduced in our lands the custom of mixing dried fruits and nuts with honey for its preparation.
In Spain it is a tradition to eat this sweet treat at Christmas time. There are two types of Spanish nougat, or turrón.
The first type is Turrón de Alicante, made of toasted almonds, pure honey, sugar and egg white. It has a white color and a crunchy texture.
The second variety is Turrón de Jijona, or soft nougat, a golden smooth paste made of ground almonds, honey and egg white. It differs from other nougats because it has that texture, soft and crumbly when eaten, that characterizes it so much and that our palates associate with the Christmas holidays.
We are going to use this soft nougat to make todaýs recipe.
This soft, smooth and creamy nougat mousse is the perfect finishing touch for any Christmas meal.
Is Nougat Gluten Free?
In Spain nougat does not contain gluten; both Jijona and Alicante nougat are gluten free. It is possible that in other countries flour is used in the production of nougat. In that case, please check if the nougat you buy contains gluten.
How to Make Soft Nougat Mousse
1. In a sacupean, add 5 tablespoons of water and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar over medium heat (level 7 on glass ceramic) for 3 minutes. You will make a syrup.
2. Add one gelatin sheet (2 grams) into the syrup. Remove from the heat and let the sheet to melt and cool down.
3. Whip 1 cup of heavy whipping cream on medium-high speed with 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar with the hand held mixer until medium peaks.
4. Crumble 150 grams of soft nougat.
5. In a bowl, pour in the syrup. Then, add in the crumbled nougat. Beat with a hand blender until well combined.
6. With the help of a spatula, gradully add in the whipped cream and gently mix with folding movements ( a bottom-to-top and top-to-bottom motion ) until well combined.
7. Serve the mousse in glasses and put it to chill in the fridge for one hour. Et voilà … you have made an elegant and delicious Christmas dessert for your guests.
Another dessert for these holidays that I like to make is this pavlova.
Soft Nougat Mousse Recipe
Nougat mousse is an elegant and simple dessert that will give a delicious, colorful touch to your meals at Christmas time.
Natillas, or Spanish custard, is one of the many desserts that my grandmother used to make us. That´s why it reminds me of my childhood whenever I eat it!
I remember when we used to go to my grandmother’s house for Sunday lunch. I was very happy visiting my grandmother. First, I loved enjoying quality time with her. Also, I knew what dessert was going to be served after every Sunday meal: natillas!
She always made this dessert for us because she knew how much we liked it.
When I started making natillas for the first time, I realised that it was easier than I thought. It was delicious, almost as much as my grandmother’s homemade custard.
It is a very easy dessert to make since it is made of basic ingredients such as milk and eggs. You can give your own touch by flavouring it to your taste, with either just a cinnamon stick, or two lemon peels or one lemon peel and one orange peel. In Spain we like to give it a citrus aroma.
By the way, remember to peel the lemon and orange peels without the white part.
How To Make Homemade Spanish Custard (Natillas)
1. In a large saucepan, pour 3 cups of whole milk and add in one cinnamon stick over medium-high heat ( level 7 on glass-ceramic ) until boiling.
2. In a glass or a saucepan, pour 1 cup of whole milk and add in two tablespoons of cornstarch. Stir until dissolved.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together 8 egg yolks, 6 tablespoons (or 1/3 cup) of granulated sugar, and the milk with cornstarch with an electric mixer. Continue beating until well combined.
4. When the flavoured milk starts to boil, remove it from the heat.
5. Pour the warm milk through a strainer into the bowl with the egg yolk mixture. And stir with a fork until well integrated.
6. Pour the mixture in a saucepan and cook over low heat. With the help of a wooden spoon, stir continuously to keep the mixture from boiling and the yolks from curdling.
7. You will see foam coming out, keep stirring constantly until it disappears. When the foam is gone, the custard is done. Remove from heat.
8. Strain the custard through a sieve into a deep bowl and put it to chill in the refrigerator for two hours. Et voilà! You have made delicious natillas for dessert!
More Custard Dessert Recipes
You can also try these other traditional custard recipes.
Crema Catalana: This traditional Spanish burnt cream is made with a custard base topped with burnt sugar.
Crème Brûlée: This traditional French dessert literally means burnt cream, but it is flavored with vanilla instead.
Spanish Flan:This traditional flan was a famous dessert in the time of the Roman Empire until today!
Pastry Cream: This creamy custard is usually piped into many desserts, especially those made of puff pastry