Desserts and sweets

Catalan cream

Catalan cream


  • Easy
  • 30 minutes
  • For 6 people
  • 0.4 € / person

Catalan cream recipe. One of the most famous dessert recipes in Catalonia and throughout Spain. A very simple and fast preparation dessert that is made with ingredients that we usually have at home.

Although it is a classic recipe we can always give it a special touch if we feel like it, in this case vanilla. And in the final process, sprinkle with white sugar and burn with a hot iron shovel or a blowtorch. I have used a small torch that helps you not to heat the cream and for me it gives it a more professional touch, as well as being less cumbersome and taking up very little in the kitchen.

They say that it is a dessert very similar to crême brûlée , although I have tried the 2 desserts at home, they are very similar but there are some differences. The authentic Catalan cream is always made with starch (not with milk or cream, or wheat flour, like the other creams like pastry cream) and is flavored with the classic combination of lemon and cinnamon, originated in the old and refined arab cuisine.

Although in this recipe I have added vanilla and the touch of orange, not typical of the recipe, so if you want to make it original, skip these ingredients. We can relate it to the pastry cream ( crème pâtissiere ) and to the French cream, whose name is known as English cream. Be that as it may, authentic Catalan cream, due to its incomparable lightness, is unique. Its origin is very old, in medieval recipes the “llet cuita” (cooked milk) already appears , although well baked, like a pudding.

The Catalan cream, crema burned or cream of San José  is a very typical dessert of Catalan cuisine. It consists of a pastry cream based on egg yolk that is usually covered with a layer of caramelized sugar on its surface to provide a crisp contrast. It is eaten throughout the year but it is customary to prepare it on ” Father’s Day “, celebrated on March 19, next date.

This dessert of St. Joseph’s Day can be served alone or as a filling for many other desserts, it can be used to fill Ensaimadas or other types of pastries or pastries. Even improvise a millefeuille of pancakes with Catalan cream , a fusion dessert between Galician and Catalan cuisine, a complete success on the blog. Do you cheer up with a Catalan cream?

Preparation of Catalan cream

  1. The first step is to prepare the ingredients with which we are going to flavor the milk. We wash the lemon and orange very well and peel their skin finely, without much white that then makes the dessert bitter.
  2. We open the vanilla bean and remove the seeds that we will reserve to add later to the milk.
  3. We heat the milk over medium heat almost to the boiling point.
  4. We lower the temperature and remove from the heat, add the vanilla seeds, the skin of the orange and the lemon, and finally the cinnamon stick. We leave everything to rest for 5 minutes while we beat the eggs.
  5. We separate the whites from the yolks and put them in a bowl with the sugar (250 g).
  6. We beat vigorously with an electric mixer or some rods until we achieve a foamy mixture.
  1. Add to the bowl that contains the egg cream and sugar the fine corn flour, so that it mixes better we can help ourselves with a little of the hot milk from step 2. We beat everything very well.
  2. Heat the milk again at medium temperature for 10 minutes with the vanilla, the lemon-orange peel and the cinnamon. After cooking we pass through a strainer to remove impurities.
  3. We put the casserole with the milk over low heat, add the mixture of egg cream, sugar and flour. We continuously remove with a wooden spoon or some rods (I just bought some silicone ones that are very good) without lumps and taking care that it never boils. When it begins to thicken, remove from the heat and continue to move for one more minute. Keep in mind that although the cream is a little liquid it will thicken when it cools.
  4. We fill some pots or cool bowls that you have at home. I have used the only ones I have, white ceramic, simple and just the right size for an individual dessert. We let them rest 1/2 hour and then we keep in the fridge for 2-3 hours.
  5. When we go to serve the Catalan cream we burn the surface. We put a tablespoon of sugar on top and burn with a kitchen torch. You can also use a special burning shovel for this dessert, but it is not easy to get and it takes up a lot in a small kitchen like mine. So I prefer the torch that keeps the cream cold and perfectly generates that famous plate of crispy sugar.
  6. It is usually served in clay pots, this in a traditional way, although it can also be served in different dessert dishes. The warm contrast of the sugar with the cold cream is delicious, and I advise you to first break with the teaspoon and when it cracks, gobble the mixture with a good portion of cream, quite an art.

This Catalan cream recipe has a quick and simple preparation, the most complicated thing to have is a burner or a blowtorch that I recommend you buy.

If you want to add more flavor to the crunchy caramel on the surface, you can change the sugar for vanilla, it will give a different touch and enhance the flavor of the dessert.

You see that it is a dessert with a very soft cream and a layer of crispy sugar, my favorite dessert and that there are a few on the blog.

I encourage you to prepare it at home at least on ” Father’s Day ” which in Catalonia is celebrated in style with this dessert. Do not forget to caramelize a little before serving the Catalan cream, this way you will avoid softening the caramel.

Be sure to enjoy all the yummy sweets in our dessert recipes . You can see all the photos of the step by step of the Catalan cream recipe in this album, do not miss any detail and it will be perfect.

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