Crema Catalana

"Crema Catalana or Catalan Cream is the Spanish version of the French dessert, crème brulée. Due to the close proximity of Cataluña to France, some believe the famous French dessert actually originated in Cataluña! Wherever it originated won’t matter as you eat this dessert, letting it dissolve in your mouth! It is a great dessert for Spring, since it is also called Crema de Sant Josep, or St. Joseph’s cream, traditionally prepared on March 19th, St. Joseph’s Day, the Spanish equivalent of Father’s Day in the USA. This is a great dessert to make ahead of time, since it is very easy and requires 2-3 hours of refrigeration before serving. Make it the day before and leave it in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve. Then heat the broiler, caramelize the sugar and serve! (Chill times not included)."
photo by Jonathan Melendez photo by Jonathan Melendez
photo by Jonathan Melendez
photo by Jonathan Melendez photo by Jonathan Melendez
photo by Jonathan Melendez photo by Jonathan Melendez
photo by Karen Elizabeth photo by Karen Elizabeth
photo by Bev I Am photo by Bev I Am
Ready In:




  • In a pot, beat together the egg yolks and 3/4 cup sugar until thoroughly blended and the mixture turns frothy.
  • Add the cinnamon stick and grated lemon rind.
  • Mix the cornstarch with 2 tbsp of the cold milk, when well mixed return it to the remaining 2 cups of milk.
  • Pour in the milk.
  • Slowly heat the mixture, stirring constantly, just until thickened.
  • Remove pot from heat immediately.
  • Tip: As soon as the mixture thickens and you feel resistance while stirring, remove the pot from the heat or the mixture may curdle or separate! The texture of the finished crema will be grainy instead of smooth and creamy, this is as it should be.
  • Remove the cinnamon stick and ladle the milk mixture into 4 ramekins (individual serving size).
  • Allow to cool, then refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours.
  • Before serving, preheat the broiler.
  • Remove ramekins with the crema catalana from refrigerator and sprinkle the rest of the sugar over each ramekin.
  • When broiler is hot, place the ramekins under the broiler on the top shelf and allow the sugar to caramelize, turning gold and brown.
  • This may take 10 minutes or so, depending on your broiler. Remove and serve immediately.
  • If you'd like, you can serve the crema catalana chilled, but we think it has more flavor when served warm from the broiler.

Questions & Replies

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  1. This was so much fun to make! The custard was super easy and tasted great. It's like a creme brûlée without the cream. Loved it!
  2. We really liked this a lot but I will put a little less lemon in it next time because the kids didnt really enjoy it that much.
  3. Very much enjoyed, a lighter, looser texture than creme brulee, with a delicate flavour, my husband was pleasantly surprised by this (for us) unusual dessert. Not difficult to make, I was quite nervous about over-cooking it, but it was fine. I made it the day before and let it sit overnight in the fridge, putting it under the grill the following evening. This made six desserts in small ramekins, for me. Thanks, Annacia!
  4. This pudding has a wonderfully lemony flavor. Lighter in texture than a creme brulee and to me, other than caramelizing the top upon completion I am not entirely sure the two are similar. I used my kitchen torch for the final touch. I enjoyed this very much and will make again! Thank you, Annacia!
  5. This recipe is very similar to a recipe I found on Spain recipes (only the directions are a tad bit different) for crema Catalan. This has a good flavor but I personally prefer the smother texture of crème Brule. The directions don’t mention when or where to put the cornstarch so I submitted a correction. Thanks for posting.



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