Citrus Crema Catalana

"Spanish trained chef Alex Urena learned this recipe for the Spanish version of crème brûlée from the grandmother of a friend he met while training at Spain's famed El Bulli restaurant. I simplified it a little as his original recipe called for oven-drying regular brown sugar in the pre-heated oven for 18 minutes, which you can certainly do if you can't find raw sugar. The silky texture of this dessert is amazing! Cooking time includes chilling time."
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Ready In:
3hrs 15mins
2 desserts




  • Preheat the oven to 300°.
  • In a saucepan, combine the milk with the cream, sugar, citrus zests and cinnamon stick and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Remove from the heat.
  • In a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks. Whisk in 1/2 cup of the infused milk, then whisk the yolk mixture into the remaining infused milk in the saucepan. Strain the custard and pour it into two 3/4- or 1-cup ramekins.
  • Set the ramekins in a small baking dish and add enough hot water to the dish to reach halfway up the side of the ramekins. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the custards are barely set. Remove the ramekins from the baking dish, let cool slightly and cover loosely with foil. Refrigerate the custards until chilled, at least 2 hours.
  • Preheat the broiler. Set the ramekins in a shallow baking dish packed with ice. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the custards and broil 4 inches from the heat until golden brown, about 15 seconds; shift the baking dish for even browning. Serve at once.
  • Make Ahead: The custards can be prepared through Step 4, tightly wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for 2 days.

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I am a married cruise-only travel agent with two stepsons, aged 20 and 25. It took a while to get the boys used to my cooking, as they were raised on fast food and pre-packaged foods (i.e. mac-n-cheese from the blue box, frozen dinners, Chef Boyardee, McDonalds, etc.). My mother is from Spain and I lived there as well as Germany, England and Italy growing up, which influenced both my career and my cuisine!</p> 8726943"
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