Crema Catalana

Joerg atop Mojacar tower
Today's recipe: Creme Catalan
Catalan Custard with burnt sugar topping

Greetings from a sunny and warm place in Andalucia, Spain. We are once again underway in our camper van and are lapping up the sunshine in our European “down under”. It's been slightly more breezy (up to 60 knots of wind...that's 100km for you non-sailors) and rainy at times, but otherwise sunshine and blue skies. What more can you ask for? A recipe you say. Cheeky monkey.

Mojacar from a distance

These photos are clearly not of the Crème Catalan dessert, but of the lovely Mojacar surrounds. Mojacar itself is a very nice tourist village, but we like to stay just out of town at a little pub/restaurant, called Antonios. It's near the Castello (Castle) and you can walk there over a lovely hillside path that runs along the coast above the sea. Keep small children on a lead as it's very steep in places with no railings.

Me in Mojacar tower

Then there's the look-out Tower with magnificent views up and down the coast. I took one of the other camper vans dogs for a walk, Mme Lady Chanel, and she marched me up that damn hill. Good ting she's so damn cute!

Lady Chanel

But enough of that. A recipe at last. No photo, but hey, you can't have it all. This is Spain's most famous dessert and it is always great. Caramelizing the top can take a bit of practice, but it's well worth it. They often use what looks like a branding iron that's been heated in the fireplace to scorch the top, but seeing as most of us don't generally do a lot of branding, the more traditional methods may be preferential.


750ml milk
zest of 1 lemon
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp vanilla essence (opt) OR 1 vanilla pod (opt)
5 egg yolks
150g sugar plus 3 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp cornflour

1. Bring 700ml of the milk, zest, cinnamon stick and vanilla (if using) to the boil and then remove from the heat. Strain the milk.
2. Beat the yolks with the 150g of sugar. Whisk the strained milk into the yolk mix. Mix the remaining 50ml of milk with the cornflour and add to the milk yolk mix.
3. Put the mix back into a pan and cook over a low heat, stirring constantly, until the mix is nice and creamy.
4. Remove from the heat and pour into 6 ramekins (preferably shallow ones). Sprinkle the remaining 3 tbsp of sugar over the dishes and caramelize the tops with a kitchen blowtorch or alternatively under a preheated grill.
5. Enjoy!

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