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Crema Catalana - Catalan dessert

After this really typical Catalan dessert you can easily be addicted!

Ingredients for four people

  • 1 litre of milk
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 lemon untreated
  • 1 cinnamon bar
  • 250 g of sugar
  • Butter 1 piece

Ingredients for the caramel sauce (preparation see below):

  • Butter, about a 1cm large cubes
  • 4 tablespoons sugar (brown or white)
  • A cup of cream
  • 1 heaped teaspoon vanilla or vanilla real


Peel lemon. Bring the milk with half lemon peel and cinnamon stick to a slow boiling. When the milk boils, remove the cinnamon stick from the milk and let them cold.
In the meantime, put the yolks and 200g sugar in a bowl, mix up a mass and clumps free.

Enter the cooled milk, and heat on low flame slowly stirring in one direction. Do not stop to stir when the mass become viscous.
Make sure that the mass does not begin to boil otherwise the cream could curdle.

Then add some caramel sauce in small tins then add the cream and allow to cool.

Enter the rest of the sugar into a pan with a piece of butter and let it caramelise. You may caramelise the sugar for not too long a period and not too hot a temperature in the pan, because it burns very quickly. The caramelised sugar now goes onto the cream.

The Catalans are using a special kitchen device to caramelise the sugar directly on the cream. This looks like an electric immersion, with only a shallow heating spiral and costs of about € 18-20. There is also a variant with a gas flame. This device to caramelise the sugar is operated with gas stove and costs around € 20-25.

Preparation of Caramel Sauce

Heat some butter in a saucepan over medium to high heat. Then add sugar and mix both until it has been mixed into a syrupy mixture. Be sure to wait until the first crystals are formed on the bottom of the pot and the sugar begins to caramelize. It will be brown. Then stir the mixture and wait until the it is runny again (while stirring form small lumps may form). Caution: Do not wait too long with the stirring, it can burn very quickly.
Repeat the process two or three times, until all the sugar is caramelized.

Now remove the pan from the heat and let it cool for a minute or two. Now, pour about 3/4 of the cream and stir well until it has formed a uniform sauce with the sweet mixture. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit of cream.

Then leave it to cool in the fridge; the sauce will become even more syrupy.

Note on sugar: with brown sugar it is not so easy to see how far the caramelization has advanced, however it does add something in terms of color.