Bake a Crema Catalana creme brûlée with The Crema Caravan
Here’s our recipe (and tips) for the perfect Crema Catalana, ‘the Spanish crème brulee’ that’s traditionally eaten on St Josephs day (the Spanish equivalent of Fathers day).
The traditional version calls for milk and the addition of a thickner such as cornflour but we find double cream and milk does the job better!
Once you’ve mastered this you can freestyle with the flavouring- the zest and cinnamon can be substituted with whatever you fancy and you can sub sugar with other sweetners like honey or maple syrup for example.
You’ll need oven-proof ramekins or shallow terracotta dishes for this. Either is fine but note the shallower they are the quicker they’ll cook.
These are best made the night before you want to eat them to allow time to set but if you’re making same day allow at least 4 hours to chill.
Feeds 6- 8 depending on the size of your ramekins.
You Will Need
Preheat the oven to 150°C or gas mark 2.
Place the cream, milk, orange zest, lemon zest and cinnamon and a pinch of salt into a heavy based medium sized saucepan. Split the vanilla pod in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds. Put the pod halves and seeds into the cream mix. Set aside for at least 15 mins to allow the flavours to infuse
Meanwhile, separate your eggs (keep the whites for making meringues-you can freeze them if you don’t want to use them straight away) and put the yolks into a medium sized heatproof bowl.
Weigh out the sugar into a separate bowl and get your ramekins or terracotta dishes ready in a deep roasting tray or casserole.
Place the cream mix on a medium heat, stirring occasionally whilst coming up to heat. Keep a close eye on your cream, and when it reaches just below boiling take it off the heat.
Very gently whisk your eggs to break them up, add the sugar to the egg yolks and stir gently to incorporate.
Now strain ¼ of the hot cream through a fine sieve onto the egg and sugar mix, stirring gently to temper the egg and bring it up to heat. Strain the remainder of the hot cream into the egg mix and stir gently making sure the egg and cream mix is thoroughly combined. If there are any air bubbles you can strain these off or take a cooks blowtorch quickly over the surface to pop them.
Transfer the custard mix into a jug and carefully pour into your ramekins or dishes. Bring the kettle to the boil and carefully fill the oven tray until the waterline is around half way up your ramekins.
Cover loosely with tinfoil and place in the oven at 150°C for 35-40 minutes (30 mins or less if you’re using shallow terracotta ramekins). If your oven has hot spots (your cakes rise more on one side than the other is a clue) half way through, turn the tray around so you get an even bake.
To check the crema catalanas are ready gently give the ramekin a tap on the side. They should wobble like a set jelly but the surface shouldn’t split or crack and allow liquid through.
Leave to cool at room temperature, cover with cling film and place in the fridge to set overnight.
When you are ready to eat, Sprinkle the extra sugar over the custard using a sugar shaker, sieve or strainer if you want a nice even coating.
Using a cooks blow torch heat the sugar ‘til it melts and caramelises.
If you haven’t got a blow torch preheat the grill to high. Place the dishes into a deep roasting pan filled with ice. Cook under a hot grill for 2-3 minutes or until the sugar bubbles and caramelises.