Welcome to Weathercraft Winery Kitchen. In this cooking series, Raquel will share some of the Spanish dishes she grew up with. The recipes will be presented in super simple ways for you to try at home.
Possibly, one of the best known Spanish desserts is Crema Catalana. This dish, although served all year round, is a special dish served on Sant Josep (Saint Joseph’s) Day in Spain on the 19 March. The celebration of the conception of Jesus happens to also coincide with Father’s Day in Spain. My Dad did not have a sweet tooth, but I remember him eating this dessert each year on Father’s Day without complaint!
Although this dessert may not seem unique – other countries do serve similar desserts – it holds an important place in Catalan cuisine and for me it is one of their most outstanding. Traditionally, a hand-made iron designed in a spiral shape (see picture below) was heated and used to brown the top of this dessert. Nothing pleases me quite like the sound of the thin, hard layer of burnt sugar across the top of the custard cream, shattering under the weight of my spoon digging into the lusciousness beneath!
You must try this at home. Again, I’ve made it super simple and virtually fail proof!
One thing I will say though is that my recipe calls for cinnamon, and yet in my video I have forgotten to mention or include it!! (*aghast*) Please DON’T do what I did in the video, add the cinnamon, it makes a world of difference to the finished dish.
Recipes will feature a video, troubleshooting tips and recipe variations including plant-based options where possible. I will also offer ideas for matching wines to your dish!
Generally, Spanish recipes use simple ingredients and simple steps, I have gone a step further though and made the recipes in this series even more simple by sharing tips and cheats with you for successful Spanish cooking at home. Your family (and you!) will be applauding your efforts. Let’s begin…
Recipe: Crema Catalana
Yields: 4 large servings, or you can pour into 8 smaller serving dishes
Vegetarian, Gluten-Free [for a vegan version, please see our Spanish Almond Cream recipe, then proceed with step 6 for caramelisation]
- 500ml milk
- 1 orange, grate zest and then peel and slice orange segments (keep filleted segments aside, discard remaining orange pulp)
- 1 cinnamon stick (or a shake of cinnamon from a jar)
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 4 egg yolks (from medium to large eggs, separate the whites)
- 150g sugar (50g will be used to create the burnt topping after custard cream has set)
- Whisk 100g of the sugar and the egg yolks in a saucepan until white and creamy.
- Add the cornflour, cinnamon, orange zest and milk – mix gently to combine all ingredients
- Slowly heat over a low-medium flame, stirring constantly until mixture begins to thicken.
- Pour custard into shallow ramekins and refrigerate for at least 5 hours or overnight.
- Using the remaining 50g of caster sugar, divide evenly by sprinkling over the tops of the custard in the ramekins.
- Caramelise the sugar using a kitchen blow torch or by placing under a very hot grill for a few minutes. Note: Keep an eye on the grill, do not let the tops burn. Grill must be super hot BEFORE placing ramekins under grill – the custard should only need a few minutes to brown, otherwise you will liquify the custard. Same thing with the kitchen blow torch, keep it moving around or you will liquify the custard. (see Troubleshooting below)
- Serve immediately with a couple of orange segments laid atop.
My custard is not thickening:
Take custard off of the stovetop. In a cup or small bowl, mix 2 tsp of extra cornflour with 2 tbsp of milk until smooth (no lumps!) and then add to custard mixture. Return custard to stove and continue to stir over heat until custard thickens up.
My custard has liquified after browning the sugar on top:
Your custard has had too much heat applied for too long and will need to go back into the fridge to set again! You also won’t be able to get a crisp sugar top if you have to put it back into the fridge for the custard to set again.
To avoid this, it is best to use ramekins or serving dishes that are small and deep, rather than wide and shallow. A shallow dish heats up its contents a lot more quickly than a deep dish.
Grab yourself a bottle of Pedro Ximénez Sherry [Spanish, from Jerez] (or single varietal Jerez Sherry known as ‘PX’) and serve a small ‘copa’ (glass) alongside this dish. Alternatively, shake up 100 ml of milk with a shot and half (42 ml) of Liquor 43 with some ice and serve chilled … Yuuuuuuuummmmmm!
Enjoy my friend!
Don’t forget to share your photos and comments! Email them through to: [email protected]
I will be sharing some of the photos I receive on social media 🙂 Happy cooking! Raquel x