Crema Catalana

Crema Catalana

Serves 8


8 egg yolks

1 pint heavy cream

1 cup milk

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp lemon or orange zest

1” cinnamon stick



Combine the cream, milk, sugar, citrus zest and cinnamon in a saucepan and heat to scalding. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to rest for ten minutes. Strain the mixture through a sieve to remove the zest and the cinnamon stick.

In a bowl whisk the egg yolks until they are light and ribbony. Temper the hot cream mixture into the eggs a little at a time. Divide the mixture into 8 ceramic ramekins and bake at 350 in a water bath covered loosely with foil. Poke holes in the foil to let steam out. Bake until the custard is set, about 1 hour. Cool completely before refrigerating.  For service sprinkle the top of each with finely ground sugar and brown under a broiler until the sugar melts. Serve immediately.


This recipe originated in Barcelona, the capital city of Catalonia, in the fourteenth or fifteenth century.  At that time, Barcelona was the seat of the king of Aragon. Among the territories Aragon control were the kingdoms of Naples, Sicily, and Sardinia. The dessert made its way into French territories in the 19th century when Napoleon annexed Catalonia.

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