Crema Catalana (or Catalunya as it’s also called): During a vacation in Barcelona we tried what at first sight looked like creme brulee – burnt custard creme dessert. Only, this one was lighter, creamier and I dare say better. It’s made throughout the region of Catalonia in Spain, hence the name.
2 cups of 2% milk
1 cup of 35% milk fat whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Peels of an orange
1 cinnamon stick
8 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup raw sugar
4 tbs cornstarch
In a small pot, bring together milk, cream, vanilla, cinnamon stick and orange rinds, over a low heat. Let the mixture come to a boil and then take it off the stove immediately. Strain the mixture into a bowl with a sieve to get rid of any clumps, orange rinds and cinnamon stick. Take out 1/3 cup of the milk mixture in a separate bowl and whisk in cornstarch until there are no lumps, then stir back into the original milk mixture.
In a separate bowl, whisk 8 egg yolks and 1/2 cup of sugar until the mixture becomes creamy and thick. Set aside.
In a medium pot, pour in the milk mixture with a silicone spatula and turn the heat to medium low. Mix in the egg mixture. Constantly stir or whisk and do not let it boil. The mixture will begin to thicken and when it coats your spoon or whisk, it’s ready.
Pour the cream into individual ramekins and put them into the fridge to set.
Burning the sugar:
Traditionally you use a heated circular iron to press against the sugar to burn it. I use a blow torch bought in a hardware store. They are more durable than the kitchen quality one. Don’t put on the raw sugar until you are ready to serve. Otherwise the sugar will turn into syrup. Spread a thin layer of raw sugar on top of the set cream. Burn the raw sugar until it melts and golden.
Yields around 7 ramekins