Crema Catalana

Rachel Allen prepares a traditional Spanish version of the popular French dessert, crème brulée
By Rachel Allen
Crema Catalana
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes plus 2-3 hours chilling
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes plus 30 minutes infusing
  • Effort: medium


  • 350 ml milk
  • 125 ml cream
  • 1 orange, zest only, cut in long strips
  • 1 lemon, zest only, cut in long strips
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 50 g sugar
  • 3 tbsp Pedro Ximenez sherry
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 heaped tsp demerara sugar


1. Put milk, cream, lemon and orange zest and cinnamon sticks in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat, cover, and leave to infuse for 30 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2.

3. In a mixing bowl, lightly whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, sherry and vanilla extract.

4. Strain the milk, discarding the zest and cinnamon sticks, and then slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly.

5. Divide the mixture between 4 ramekins and arrange them in a deep baking dish. Carefully add boiling water to the baking dish to come halfway up the ramekins, then transfer the dish to the oven and cook for 35-40 minutes until the custard is just set at the edges and still retains a wobble in the centre.

6. Remove the ramekins from the baking dish and transfer to the fridge to chill for a couple of hours until completely cool.

7. To serve, sprinkle a 1 heaped teaspoon of demerara sugar over each ramekin and use a blow torch to caramelise the sugar in slow circular movements, taking care not to burn the sugar.

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