Crema Catalana Recipe


This is a traditional dessert from Catalonia Spain. It is served on Saint Jose’s day, the 19th of March in cazuelas which are terra-cotta small dishes. I much more prefer this to the French crème brulee which many get confused by and think they are the same. It is not. Crema Catalana is much lighter because milk is used, the traditional final flavour will be from utilising lemon rind and cinnamon, and finally, the corn starch thickens the custard and sets it. The crème brulee, on the other hand, uses heavy cream, the traditional flavour is of vanilla and Bain-marine baking is required to help it set. I have used vanilla as the main flavour for my crema only because my sister got me some pods as a gift from Madagascar.

The active time for preparing this heavenly dish is 20 minutes at the max, therefore it makes an Ideal dessert to serve when having a dinner party. Prepare it ahead of time and then last-minute torch the sugar on the surface to form the crackling caramel, it is as easy as 1 2 3 and fuss free. A morsel from this smooth, soft, silky, celestial dessert will bring a smile to your face I promise.

Servings: 6

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Start to finish: 25 minutes


  • 800 millilitres whole milk

  • 1 vanilla bean

  • Lemon peel

  • 8 egg yolks, beaten

  • 200 grams of sugar

  • 3 tablespoons corn flour

  • 6 tablespoons sugar for the caramel topping


· Place the milk in a pot on a medium heat and add the lemon peel then, cut the vanilla pod in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds and add both the pod and seeds to the milk.

· Meanwhile, beat the eggs, sugar and corn flour until it reaches a creamy consistency.

· When the milk reaches a boil remove from the heat and add 1/4 of it to the creamed egg and whisk fast, so the egg does not curdle then add the rest.

· Return the egg mixture into the pot and stir over very low heat constantly without stopping or you will risk the eggs curdling.

· Once thickened remove from the heat and run through a sieve to catch the peel, the vanilla and any little curdling that may have occurred.

· Pour into small Cazuelas (terra-cotta bowls) or any heat-proof bowl and once cooled place in the fridge for several hours to set.

· Before serving sprinkle 1 tablespoons of sugar on the top and caramelise it with a blow torch or place it under the oven grill.


· Always cook on very low heat with constant stirring and always run through a sieve when cooked.

· Use a terra-cotta dish or any heat proof dish to set the crema or it will crack when using the blow torch.

· You can infuse the crema with any flavour you fancy such as orange, cinnamon lemongrass etc...

· When spreading the sugar on the top, make sure it creates an even thin layer for ease caramelising.

· If you don’t have a blow torch, simply place the dish under a hot grill until the sugar caramelises.

· Keep in the fridge for 5 days.

Per Serving: 354 Calories; 12g Fat (28.9% calories from fat); 8g Protein; 55g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 302mg Cholesterol; 78mg Sodium.