Spanish Recipes

Crema Catalana

Because of its crisp, caramelized topping, this creamy Catalan dessert is often compared to the French crème brûlée. Sweet Catalan cream, however, is not as heavy or rich as its French cousin, and thus makes a more pleasant ending to a heavy paella dinner.

  • Serves: 4
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Preparation time: 30 min.


  • 2 cups (15 fl. oz) milk
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Rind of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 medium egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup (7 oz) superfine sugar


In a saucepan, bring the milk, the cinnamon stick, lemon rind, and vanilla extract to a boil. Simmer for several minutes the discard the cinnamon stick and lemon rind. Set the flavored milk aside.

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks together with the cornstarch and 3/4 cup (5 oz) of the sugar until the mixture is creamy. Gradually pour this mixture into the saucepan with the milk, mixing continuously.

Slowly heat the mixture until it begins to thicken, taking care that the mixture does not boil. Pour into four shallow heatproof serving dishes, allow to cool, and refrigerate for several hours.

Immediately before serving, preheat the broiler and scatter the remaining sugar evenly over each serving. Place the dishes under the broiler until the sugar topping begins to caramelize. Remove from the broiler and serve.