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Crema Catalana

Crema catalana, the delicious Catalan custard dessert

Traveling around Europe, you might find that many countries claim to have invented the same thing. It’s always an age-old dispute that, despite having some evidence favoring one country over the other, still remains a hot topic of conversation. Crema catalana, the delicious Catalan custard dessert, and its French counterpart, creme brûlée are an example. To this day, people still debate about who came up with it first. Crema Catalana recipes, unlike their French counterpart, typically contain a starch thickener and are boiled before finishing, often without any baking at all. It has a refreshing citrus-infused creaminess with a hint of cinnamon and a crunchy layer of burned sugar – a classic Catalan dessert that’s hard to live without.

Crema Catalana


  • 7 egg yolks

  • 1 ounce cornstarch

  • 1 quart whole milk

  • 7 ounces sugar

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • Zest of half a lemon

  • Zest of half an orange


  1. Whisk the egg yolks and cornstarch in a bowl with a bit of cold milk.

  2. Put the milk, sugar, cinnamon, lemon zest and orange zest in a saucepan and gently bring to a boil. Simmer for three minutes, take off the heat, and whisk in the egg yolk mixture. Strain and return to the pan.

  3. Over medium heat, stir constantly until the mixture begins to thicken, about 7 minutes, and then remove from heat.

  4. Pour into individual ramekins and allow to cool before placing them in the refrigerator.

  5. When ready to serve, sprinkle each ramekin with 1 tablespoon of sugar and caramelize using a blowtorch. Alternatively, place the ramekins under a broiler and allow them to brown. Wait for the sugar to harden and serve immediately.

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