I love desserts! Do I have a favourite? Without a doubt it would have to be Creme Brulee or the Spanish equivalent – Crema Catalana. Once you have tapped into the thin crispy caramel topping you have the silky smooth custard underneath. Absolute perfection. I find the Spanish version slightly easier to make because they add cornflour which helps to set the custard. The only downside to making this dessert is you do need a cook’s blowtorch to caramelise the topping. The caramelization process has to be really quick so that you don’t heat up the custard underneath (this would make it too runny) and I have never found a household grill hot enough to do this. Both my Mum and I are dedicated to our Brulees and have stepped up a notch and use plumbing torches – perfect brulee in seconds. The custard base can be made 1 to 2 days in advance but once you caramelize the topping it cannot go back in the refrigerator and needs to be eaten within half an hour or so. This is a really easy recipe that has never failed me. The last thing I need to say is please don’t miss out on the step of straining the custard. Even if you have made a perfect, lump free custard you still need to strain out the lemon zest to get that silky smooth result.
- 150 g caster sugar
- 4 tsp cornflour
- 6 large egg yolks
- 568 ml carton double cream
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 cinnamon stick broke in half
- extra caster sugar for the topping
- Put the cream, milk, zest, and cinnamon in a pan and heat gently until it reaches boiling point.
- Remove from the heat.
- Mix the caster sugar and the cornflour in a bowl.
- Stir in the egg yolks until smooth – do not whisk or the mixture will form a froth.
- Pour the cream mixture onto the egg mixture, stirring to combine well.
- Rinse out the pan and return the mixture to it.
- Stir over low heat for 5 minutes until thickened.
- Set aside for 30 minutes to infuse and thicken further.
- Strain into a large jug and pour it into your serving dishes.
- Cover with cling wrap and chill overnight or longer to set
- Just before serving – sprinkle some caster sugar evenly over the top of the custards and caramelize quickly with a cooks blowtorch
- As the caramel cools, it will harden
- Eat within half an hour but do not chill in the refrigerator as this will cause the caramel to soften