Thursday, June 3, 2010

Crema catalana (catalan cream, the cousin of crème brûlée)


In need of an easy, tasty and soft dessert? You got it. This typical catalan dessert will solve your troubles for a last minute fancy dessert. Or not so fancy, but don't worry, your friends will think you spent hours making this. 

I find myself reading all over the place that this dessert is exactly the same as crème brûlée, but I'm gonna have to disagree. Even if the differences are little, there are indeed differences.

According to wikipedia ... Catalans claim that their crema catalana is the predecessor of France's crème brûlée, though many regions lay claim to the origin of the dessert. The chief difference between the two is that crema catalana is not baked in a bain-marie as crème brûlée is.

Also crème brûlée is usually served warm, whereas catalan cream is served cold. Both have a thin crust top of caramelized (burnt) sugar. A suitable alternative, at least in Catalonia, is a maria cookie (Spanish aisle of your supermarket has them, wicked cheap). Also, the custard in catalan cream is infused with lemon rind and cinnamon, while the French cousin is usually vanilla flavor. 

But really, who cares. Just make it, because it's easy, yummy and it takes no time. And whatever the name, you'll sure enjoy this. 


(Yaaay, this picture has been published in Foodgawker, finally I managed to get published! http://foodgawker.com/post/2010/06/03/62650/ )


The recipe is adapted from Cuina per a llaminers

Printable recipe

500 mL / 17 liq. oz (about 2 cups) whole milk
5 egg yolks
100 g / 3.5 oz granulated sugar
20 g / 4 teaspoons corn starch
1 cinnamon stick
Lemon rind, no white part


In a pot, combine the milk with half of the sugar, the cinnamon stick and the lemon rind. Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer for 5 minutes so the cinnamon and lemon infuse the milk. In the meantime, beat together the eggs, the rest of the sugar and the corn starch until ribbons form. Once the milk mixture is ready, fish out the cinnamon and lemon rind and add the milk to the egg mixture while constantly beating. You can temper the eggs first by adding a small amount of the milk while vigorously mixing. Bring the mix back to the pot and cook for a couple of minutes so it thickens. Divide the mix into four ramekins and let it cool until it reaches room temperature. Then transfer to the fridge to cool for a few hours or overnight. If you have a burner, before serving spread a small amount of sugar on the surface and burn it. If not, when transferring to the fridge, top the cream with a maria cookie.


14 comments:

Carmen (Dulces bocados) said...

Les millors postres d'un bon menjar, la crema catalana, en menjaria cada dia!!!!
Petonets

Debo said...

According to my (French) pastry teacher, crema catalana isn't as thoroughly cooked as creme brulee, so it has a softer texture. He likes to serve creme brulee in his restaurant to avoid health issues, but prefers the lightness of crema catalana!

Maria said...

Amb controversia o sense:
Descaradament bona!!!
I la galeta per mi molt millor que la capeta de caramel!!!
Però quina gràcia que em fa veure GOYA MARIA!!!
Amb uns xurrets de xoco negra pel damunt ja ni t'ho explico!!!
Un muaki gran!!

Mercè said...

mmmm... una de les meves postres preferides!!! ;) I jo la prefereixo sense cremar. :p
Petons!

La cuina vermella said...

Estimada amiga, quin homenatge més bonic que has fet a la teva-nostra terra, quina meravella!!! i com bé dius és super fàcil de fer! Felicitats per la publicació de la foto!! Molts petons.

Maduixa said...

Hola bonica! Si m'ho permets m'agradaria donar-te la meva opinió, doncs, encara que només sigui per les referències històriques escrites la crème brûlée es, al menys, d'un segle posterior, a part d'una traducció literal de "crema cremada".

També es cert que mentre que la cuina catalana, d'alguna manera, es reconeguda a Espanya com a tal, França la ha integrat com a pròpia, d'aquí que hi hagin tants "piques" amb els plats tradicionals, que no son originàriament de la cuina ni d'un país ni de l'altre, :-)

Es cert que es més fina la crema catalana per que es fa amb llet i midó (que es el que realment la diferencia de totes elles), però no pas per que no sigui ben cuita, com diu el professor de Debo. La crème brûlée, a més, es fa tradicionalment amb nata i, com tu has dit, es cou al bany maria, per tant tampoc hauria de bullir.

Posar-hi una galeta maria resulta molt bo, però es més típic de zones d'interior com Castella-Lleó, on son més típiques les "natillas", a Catalunya, a la crema, no és costum. Encara que hom es posa les galetes on vol :-)

La història es molt bonica, i per a qui ens agrada la gastronòmica es molt apassionant.

un petó preciosa :-)

Maduixa said...

Gràcies a tu bonica per deixar-me explicar-ho, :-) si en vols saber més detalls, hi tinc una entrada de la crema catalana on en parlo de la seva història.

una abraçada molt forta! :-)

Vivienne said...

I always order this when I'm at spanish restaurants! Always thought its teh Spanish version of creme brulees but now I know better! ;)

Anna said...

This looks very interesting, I'll definitely have to give it a try, and congrats on being featured!

Josep Miquel said...

Jejeje, Lerdi!

Que no tenim cremador? Jo en tinc un a Atlanta ;). A veure si trobo les fotos de la darrera crema que vam fer!

Felicitats pel blog, veig que va en augment!

Diana Bauman said...

I love crema catalana! What a wonderful recipe. The maria cookies are also so yummy!!

Anonymous said...

Try with Orange and green cardomom.

Anonymous said...

:-( Mine never set up...even over night. Hmm, not sure where I failed. I just re-simmered it while using a blender to blend the living daylights out of it, with added starch. Time will tell if I can use it.

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