Spanish Crema Catalana

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Crema Catalana is a Spanish traditional dessert often served during the Saint Joseph festivities. It is like a créme brûlée with a Spanish touch.

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What is crema Catalana?

“Crema Catalana” or “crema tostada” is basically a custard cream infused with orange and cinnamon flavor. The “wow” factor of this traditional Spanish recipe is the hard caramel on top that creates a crunchy texture that contrasts the velvety custard.

This recipe is as easy as delicious. It’s a no-bake dessert that it’s made to impress.

The caramel resembles the French créme brûlée style. You just need to put 1 tsp of sugar on top of the custard and then burn it with the help of a cooking torch. The result must be a brown caramel with some dark spots.

The result is a hard crust that will make a satisfactory “crack” that unravels all that cream.

Custard Cream Thicken

Can you make the crunchy caramel topping without a cooking torch?

Yes, in fact, this is the way that I make mine because at this moment I don’t own a cooking torch — it’s on my wishlist.

The way of achieving this beautiful hard caramel without a torch is using a stainless steel spoon.

You will also need to have a gas stove where you can heat the spoon for about 1 minute. Carefully — remember the spoon is extremely hot — place the spoon over the sugar and it will start to smoke. Quickly move it around the surface of the crema Catalana until it creates the caramel.

I hope you love this recipe as much as I do and I see you in the next one!

More Spanish Recipes

5 from 1 vote
Spanish Crema Catalana
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Resting time
3 hrs
Total Time
20 mins
Crema Catalana is a Spanish traditional dessert often served during the Saint Joseph festivities. It is like a créme brûlée with a Spanish touch.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Spanish
Keyword: spanish crema catalana
Servings: 4 people
  • 500 ml of milk
  • 1 orange peel
  • 1 lemon peel
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch (15 gr)
  • ½ cup sugar (70 gr)
  • 2 tbsp sugar for the caramel
  1. In a big pot, heat the milk over medium heat. Add the cinnamon stick and the orange and lemon peel. Let it simmer until it starts to boil and then take it out of the stove. Strain the milk to remove the peel and the cinnamon stick.
  2. In a bowl, mix the cornstarch, sugar and egg yolks. Slowly pour the milk and mix well.
  3. Take the mix to the stove over low heat. Stir constantly for 5 minutes. You will start to notice that it thickens slowly. In this part you have to keep stirring, otherwise lumps can appear and some cream might burn at the bottom. Cook until you get a thick consistency like in the pictures above.
  4. Serve the cream into the ramekins and take it to the fridge for at least 3 hours.
  5. Cover the cream with ½ tbsp of sugar per ramekin and melt it with the help of a cooking torch (or with the spoon trick). Melt until you get a brown caramel. Let it chill and serve.

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