An easy-to-make dessert recipe that will please all gourmets: the Catalan cream. With its creamy and fragrant texture, topped with a thin layer of crunchy caramel (made with a blowtorch), it's hard to resist...
As easy to make as its cousin the crème brûlée, the realization of the Catalan cream is very fast (no need for oven). A little treasure of Spanish gastronomy that I had the pleasure of discovering during my travels. You will love its slightly tangy flavor and its irresistible caramel...
What is the difference between Catalan cream and crème brûlée?
In France, we know very well the creme brulee, made with liquid cream, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla. It is cooked in the oven, in a bain-marie.
In Spain, the Catalan cream is made with milk, egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and a touch of lemon (or orange) and cinnamon. It is cooked directly in the pan before being poured into ramekins. Its texture is more velvety, less rich than crème brûlée, but very creamy.
For me, impossible to choose, I love one as much as the other…
What you will like with this recipe
- no oven needed : which is appreciable in summer for example! Cooking is done simply in a saucepan.
- delicately scented : lemon and cinnamon bring a lot of finesse to the taste of Catalan creams. Try it, I'm sure you'll like it!
- a crunchy caramel : just before serving, the surface of the creams is heated with a blowtorch to create a crunchy caramel, perfect for breaking up with a spoon…
Catalan Cream Ingredients
- milk : to make this kind of cream, I recommend whole milk. It provides much more smoothness than semi-skimmed milk. On the other hand, I do not recommend vegetable milk, which is too light.
- egg yolks : you will need a lot, but it is the guarantee of a successful Catalan cream! Egg yolks provide smoothness.
- cornstarch : cornstarch makes it possible to create a binder inside the creams (which are cooked in a saucepan and not in the oven).
- light brown sugar : I love its slightly caramelized taste so much that I use it inside creams but also outside to create the famous crunchy layer of caramel.
- lemon + cinnamon stick : this is the specificity of this Catalan cream, typically Spanish (compared to crème brûlée), it is lightly flavored with lemon zest and a touch of cinnamon. Their taste will be really subtle when you taste them.
PS: the exact quantities are given to you in my recipe at the bottom of the page.
How to make Catalan cream?
To make it you need a large container and a large saucepan. First of all, we heat the milk with the skin of the lemon and the cinnamon. Separately, whisk the egg yolks, brown sugar, cornstarch and then pour in the hot milk.
Then, the mixture is reheated until it thickens. It's very fast, it only takes a few minutes. Finally, pour the cream into flat ramekins, then put them in the fridge. Before tasting, all that remains is to caramelize the creams with a good kitchen torch.
My tips for making this recipe a success
- Mix well : when you pour the hot milk over the yolks and when you cook the mixture again in the pan. This prevents the egg yolks from "cooking", so we keep a smooth mixture.
- Heat over low heat : this also prevents the cream from granulating and preserves the smoothness.
- Make the caramel shell at the last moment : to obtain a very crunchy effect, I advise you to use your torch just before serving the creams. It doesn't take very long to do and it will be better.
How to store Catalan cream?
Catalan cream can be stored in the refrigerator about 3 days. The egg yolks are cooked, so the creams do not need to be consumed within 24 hours (unlike a chocolate mousse for example).
Other recipes to try
If you like this kind of easy-to-prepare desserts for the meal, I advise you to take a look at these other recipes from the blog:
- Salted butter caramel apple tart
- Eton strawberry mess
- chocolate marquise
- Apple cinnamon crumble
- Raspberry speculoos tiramisu
If you make this recipe, don't hesitate to tag @liliebakery on Instagram so that I can see your pretty Catalan creams!
Catalan Cream, The Easy Recipe
- 1 L whole milk (for more smoothness)
- 8 egg yolks
- 40 g cornstarch
- 100 g light brown sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 organic yellow lemon
- About 150 g brown sugar for decoration with a torch
- Take the skin of the lemon, without grating, keeping just the yellow part.
- Pour the milk into a large saucepan then add the lemon peel and the cinnamon stick. Heat over medium heat until boiling then let stand 2 minutes.
- Pass the milk through a sieve to recover the lemon pieces and cinnamon.
- In a container, pour the egg yolks, brown sugar and cornstarch. Whisk to obtain a smooth mixture.
- Pour the hot milk little by little into the container while whisking (to avoid cooking the yolks).
- Pour this mixture into the saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring, until thick and creamy (less than 5 minutes).
- Pour the preparation into flat ramekins 12/13cm in diameter. Let cool to room temperature then refrigerate.
- Just before serving, sprinkle with brown sugar then pass the cooking torch over the top to melt the sugar crystals and create the crunchy caramel.