Our favorite foods all seem to have one thing in common—they tend to come from regions on the Mediterranean coast, whether in France, Spain, Italy, Greece, or Morocco. Jose Pizarro’s new book, Catalonia: Recipes from Barcelona and Beyond takes us to a region we can’t wait to visit.
We love this simple custard dessert, which is similar to a Creme Brulee but with a more rustic presentation and the addition of cinnamon and citrus. It would be the perfect finish to a festive dinner party or date night.
As Pizarro explains, “I have experimented with different flavours over the years, trying crema Catalana with coffee, cardamom, vanilla and more. But in the end, I think the traditional one is the best. In Pizarro Restaurant, I love to burn the sugar with a traditional hot plancha, which gives off a gorgeous aroma. Heaven!”
A lot of our European cookbooks specify Caster sugar in recipes. Some specialty grocery stores carry it, but it’s easiest to get online. Superfine sugar, also available in some grocery stores, is the closest thing in the U.S.
- 1 litre (34 fl oz) whole (full-fat) milk
- pared zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
- ½ small cinnamon stick
- 6 large free-range egg yolks
- 60 g (2 oz / ¼ cup) caster (superfine) sugar, plus extra to caramelize
- 40 g (1½ oz / ⅓ cup) cornstarch
- Put the milk, zests and cinnamon in a pan and bring to the boil then set aside to infuse for at least 1 hour. When cold and infused, strain through a fine sieve.
- Beat the eggs and sugar together until thick and pale and fluffy, then beat in the infused milk and cornflour.
- Pour into a clean pan and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until you have a thick custard. Sieve into a jug and pour into eight dishes or large ramekins. Chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours, or overnight, until completely set.
- When ready to serve, sprinkle a layer of sugar over the top and caramelise quickly with a blowtorch, or under a very hot grill (broiler). Chill again for at least an hour before serving.
Excerpt and photo printed with permission from Catalonia: Recipes from Barcelona and Beyond by José Pizarro, photo by Laura Edwards, published by Hardie Grant Books October 2017.