Crema Catalana

Crema Catalana is a Spanish dessert similar to crème brûlée. It is traditionally made with milk, cream, sugar, egg yolks, cornflour, and flavoured with lemon zest and cinnamon. It is usually served in ceramic ramekins. The main difference between crème brûlée and crema Catalana is that the latter is usually topped with caramelised sugar, while the former is traditionally topped with whipped cream.


  • 1 litre whole milk
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 100g sugar
  • 40g cornflour
  • 1 lemon, zest only


  1. Place the milk and cinnamon stick in a saucepan over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and set aside to infuse for 10 minutes.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour, and lemon zest until pale and creamy.
  3. Gradually add the milk to the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove from the heat.
  4. Pour the mixture into ramekins and set aside to cool. Once cool, refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  5. Just before serving, sprinkle the top of each ramekin with sugar and caramelise using a blowtorch. Alternatively, place under a preheated grill for 2-3 minutes until the sugar has melted and is golden brown.

Potential changes & improvements

If you don’t have a blowtorch, you can use a chefs’ blowtorch. If you don’t have either, place the ramekins on an oven-proof tray and broil (or grill) for about 2 minutes, until the sugar has melted and is golden brown. Watch carefully so they don’t burn.

What other food it works well with

Crema Catalana goes well with fresh fruit, such as berries or slices of melon.

Common Mistakes

The most common mistake is not whisking the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour, and lemon zest together until pale and creamy. This will result in a lumpy mixture.

Nutritional Information

Crema Catalana is a high-fat, high-calorie dessert. Each serving (1/4 of the recipe) contains approximately:

  • 500 calories
  • 25g fat
  • 15g saturated fat
  • 100mg cholesterol
  • 160mg sodium
  • 70g carbohydrates
  • 40g sugar
  • 6g protein


Crema Catalana contains egg, milk, and corn. It may also contain traces of nuts, gluten, and soy.

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