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.


Prep Time45 mins
Total Time45 mins


  • 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

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