Crema catalana

If you fancy something different for dessert, try Spain's version of crème brulée - from Arthur Potts Dawson
By Arthur Potts Dawson
Crema catalana
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2-3
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes plus 2 hrs for chilling
  • Effort: medium


  • 100 ml full fat milk
  • 100 ml double cream
  • 8 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp cornflour

Tips and Suggestions

Heating the milk mixture gently and stirring constantly will prevent the milk proteins from coagulating and drying on the surface to form an unappealing skin.
When heating the sugar take care not to let the caramel to become too dark, or it will taste bitter. The caramel may continue to darken after it is taken off the heat, so it may be better remove the pan while the caramel is still a light golden hue.


1. In a small saucepan, warm the milk, cream, 1 tablespoon of sugar and the lemon zest over a low heat, stirring constantly. Take care not to let the mixture bubble.

2. While the milk mixture is heating, whisk the egg yolks, 3 tablespoons of sugar and the cornflour together in a mixing bowl until the mixture is pale and smooth. The mixture should fall like ribbons when the whisk is lifted from the bowl.

3. Slowly pour the warmed milk mixture into the bowl of sugar and egg yolks and mix well. Add the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over a low heat for a further 8-10 minutes.

4. Pour the cooked mixture into a shallow dish or ramekin and leave to cool slightly before placing into the fridge to chill for 2 hours.

5. Before serving, prepare the caramel sauce. In a thick-bottomed saucepan, heat the remaining sugar with a dash of water over a low heat. Leave the sugar to melt, without stirring, until the syrup turns amber and reaches a thick caramel consistency. Remove from the heat immediately.

6. Pour a thin layer of the caramel onto the chilled custard and serve.

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