Crema catalana

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Crema catalana
Creme catalane.jpg
Alternative namesCatalan cream, Crema de Sant Josep
Place of originSpain
Region or stateCatalonia
Serving temperatureRoom temperature
Main ingredientsMilk, sugar, egg or egg yolks, cinnamon, lemon zest

The dessert known in most of Spain as crema catalana ("Catalan cream"), but as crema cremada ("burnt cream") in Catalan cuisine,[1] is similar to a crème brûlée; the desserts have been called "virtually identical",[2] although crema catalana is made with milk, while crème brûlée is made with cream. Crema catalana is a custard made from egg yolks, milk, sugar, cornflour (in modern recipes), and aromatics, typically lemon zest, cinnamon, or vanilla, with a crisp caramel crust.[3]


Some differences between crema catalana and crème brûlée include the cooking method and the resulting consistency; the French version is made with cream and flavoured with vanilla, while the Catalan version is made with milk, and typically flavoured with cinnamon and lemon zest. Modern versions are often thickened with cornflour.[4][3]

Crema catalana cannot be frozen successfully.[3]


The first known recipe for crema catalana appears in the Catalan cookbooks Llibre de Sent Soví (14th century)[3] and Llibre del Coch (16th century).[5] The first of these was published three centuries before recipes for the French crème brûlée. The recipe included a custard cream, over which sugar was poured and subsequently burnt with a hot iron rod, creating the characteristic burnt crust.

Analogous recipes appear in 17th century Spanish cookery books, usually under the name of Cream of Saint Joseph ("Crema de Sant Josep"), since it was a traditional dessert served during Saint Joseph's Day, although nowadays it is consumed at all times of the year. The recipe was first referred to as crema catalana (Catalan cream) in the 1745 cookbook by the Spanish friar Juan de Altamiras, where the recipe was said to be of Catalan origin.[6] The burnt sugar topping is documented in 1770.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Roden, Claudia (2012-03-24). "Burnt cream - Crema cremada (recipe)". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2019-10-14.
  2. ^ Colman Andrews (3 December 2005). Catalan Cuisine, Revised Edition: Vivid Flavors From Spain's Mediterranean Coast. Harvard Common Press. pp. 247–. ISBN 978-1-55832-329-2.
  3. ^ a b c d Marijo Jordan (2020-03-20). "Los 10 errores que cometes al hacer crema catalana y natillas" [The 10 mistakes you commit when making crema catalana and custards]. La Vanguardia (in Spanish).
  4. ^ Richard Sax (9 November 2010). Classic Home Desserts: A Treasury of Heirloom and Contemporary Recipes. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 149–. ISBN 978-0-547-50480-3.
  5. ^ El convit del Tirant, Jaume Fàbrega, Pages Editors, 2007. ISBN 978-84-9779-520-3
  6. ^ a b Nuevo arte de la cocina española. Ariel. 1 October 2017. p. 493. ISBN 978-84-344-2530-9.

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