Catalan Cinnamon Crème Brûlée

Catalan Cinnamon Crème Brûlée Recipe

In Spain, this is called crema catalana (Catalonian cream) or crema cremada, “burnt cream.” The Catalans claim to have invented the custard, though its roots are traced to a seventeenth-century English recipe. Sometimes, Spanish restaurants serve it without the caramelized sugar topping. If your herb garden boasts lemon balm, garnish each dish with a sprig to exude a citrus aroma.–Lou Seibert Pappas

Catalan Cinnamon Crème Brûlée Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 3 H
  • 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar, plus 6 tablespoons for topping
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish
  • Lemon balm or mint sprigs, for garnish (optional)

Directions

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 275°F (135°C). In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, half-and-half, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, and lemon zest. Place over medium heat until small bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Remove the cinnamon stick.
  • 2. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until pale in color, then whisk in the 1/3 cup sugar until dissolved. Whisk in the cream mixture.
  • 3. Place six standard-size flan dishes in a baking pan. Divide the custard mixture among the dishes. Pour warm water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the dishes. Bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the center of each custard still jiggles slightly. Remove from the oven and lift the dishes from the hot water. Let cool briefly, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
  • 4. When ready to serve, place the dishes on a baking sheet and evenly sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar over each custard. Using a hand-held blowtorch, caramelize the sugar (see Note). Garnish each dish with a lemon wedge and a sprig of lemon balm or mint, if desired.

Note

  • Use caution and follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using a blowtorch. Searing one dish at a time, hold the blowtorch about 4 inches from the top of the dish, moving the torch constantly so that the sugar (or cheese) browns evenly. Be especially careful if the custard contains alcohol, as it can cause the sugar to sputter. When using a broiler to caramelize, place the dishes about 4 inches from the heat source. Watch carefully and turn the baking sheet holding the dishes if necessary to brown the custards evenly. Wear oven mitts when broiling and handling the baking sheet in the oven.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Elie Nassar

Jun 22, 2009

These are easy to make and—with the flavors of cinnamon and lemon zest—are a delicious twist on the regular vanilla crème brûlée. I’ll make this again without hesitation, because it got raves from everyone at the table. Just keep in mind that they might need more than an hour to cook, not 40 minutes if you use warm (not hot) water.

Testers Choice
TeAntae Turner

Jun 22, 2009

A lightly flavored brûlée that is very simple to make, with pleasing results. Not too sugary, which gives it a bit of a sophisticated air. My husband agreed that they’re as good without the caramelized sugar on top as stated in the recipe’s description. Sadly, I can’t judge this for myself as he ate the last ones!


Comments
Comments
  1. Testers Choice says:

    [Anonymous] My guests love crème brûlée and, as usual, asked for a second one. I will make this recipe again.

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Send it along. Covet one of those spiffy pictures of yourself to go along with your comment? Get a free Gravatar. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

*

Daily Subscription

Enter your email address and get all of our updates sent to your inbox the moment they're posted. Be the first on your block to be in the know.

Preview daily e-mail

Weekly Subscription

Hate tons of emails? Do you prefer info delivered in a neat, easy-to-digest (pun intended) form? Then enter your email address for our weekly newsletter.

Preview weekly e-mail