Crema Catalana is a delicious traditional dessert of the Spanish cuisine.
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.
Is Crema Catalana 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.
Is Crema Catalana The Same As Crême Brûlée ?
Crema catalana is a Spanish dessert cooked on the stove in a saucepan, while crême brûlée is a French dessert cooked over a low heat and later needs to bake in the oven in a bain-marie. Another difference lies in crema catalana citrus scent and the use of cinnamon. In France, they use vanilla to flavor instead.
Crema catalana is usually served in the typical clay dishes. It is a very traditional dessert and is part of the heritage of our rich gastronomic culture.
Crema catalana belongs to the same family as custards and pastry creams, but is distinguished by its characteristic toasted caramel crust that crowns the custard and gives it that golden, crunchy touch.
If you have never made this homemade dessert, and you are wondering how to make crema catalana, I assure you that it is a very easy to make dessert.
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 because 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, and place the yolks in a bowl. Add 150 grams of sugar and beat the mixture with a hand held mixer until it turns foamy and pale yellow.
4. Add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to the 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 bubble, 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.
9. Before serving, sprinkle a thin layer of sugar over the top of each dish with a spoon. Now it’s time to give the cream that golden, crunchy touch that we love so much. With a small kitchen blowtorch, burn the thin layer of sugar to caramelize. This how you make the famous caramelized crust.
How Do I Caramelize Crema Catalana ?
First, sprinkle a thin layer of sugar over the top of each dish with a spoon. Then get out your small kitchen blowtorch and carefully bring the blue flame close to the sugar until it becomes first liquid and then is finally toasted. This is why it is also known as burnt cream.
I Don’t Have A Blowtorch, Can I Caramelize Crema Catalana In The Oven?
Yes, 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.
When Should I Caramelize Crema Catalana ?
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.
If you liked this crema catalana recipe, I invite you to try other Spanish desserts.
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
- 1 litre whole milk
- 150 grams sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 lemon peel
- 8 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon sugar per serving for caramelized crust optional
- 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, and place the yolks in a bowl. Add 150 grams of sugar and beat the mixture with an electric hand mixer until it turns 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 blowtorchto caramelize the thin layer. Et voilà! You have just made a delicious crema catalana!