Crema Catalana taken from 'Back in the Saddle' cookbook

Hayden Groves

Hayden Groves

10th January 2018
Hayden Groves

Crema Catalana taken from 'Back in the Saddle' cookbook

Crema Catalana is Spain’s fragrant version of the French dish crème brûlée — the main difference is that crema Catalana is made from thickened milk instead of cream, and is scented with citrus peel and cinnamon rather than vanilla.


  • Ingredients: Serves 4
  • 600g full-fat milk
  • peel ½ lemon, pith removed
  • peel ½ orange, pith removed
  • 4cm cinnamon stick
  • 30g cornflour
  • 7 large free-range eggs, yolks only
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 4 tbsps demerara sugar


Combine the milk, citrus peels and cinnamon in a heavy-based saucepan. Place over a medium heat and bring just to the boil, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 1 hour. Once cool, strain the milk through a fine sieve, discarding the solids.
Mix the cornflour with a couple of tablespoons of the milk to make a paste. Reheat the remaining milk to a simmer, add the cornflour and whisk to create a smooth sauce.
Beat the egg yolks and caster sugar until thick and pale, then whisk in a third of the thickened infused milk. Put the mixture into a clean heavy-based saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring continuously, for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is a rich thick custard and coats the back of a wooden spoon (if you are using a temperature probe, this is once it gets to 80°C).
Cool slightly, then strain into a jug. Pour the custard mixture into 4 shallow ramekins and refrigerate until set; this should take between 2-3 hours.
Scatter the demerera sugar over the custard. To caramelise the sugar, the easiest option is to use a blowtorch and melt the sugar until bubbling and golden. If you don’t have one, place the custards under a very hot grill until the sugar is bubbling and golden – keep an eye on them to make sure they do not burn. Serve immediately.

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