Recipe: Simon’s Creme Catalan

Ah, Creme Catalan. Such a simple, yet perfect combination of flavours and textures. Everyone seems to love shattering the topping and breaking into the delicate orange-scented delights below. I’ve always loved Crème brûlée but when I first visited Spain I had this and thought the orange zest in the Spanish version made a great thing even better. Our customers have always agreed and this has been our most popular dessert over the years.

Creme Catalan by chef Simon Shaw of El Gato Negro Tapas

Creme Catalan (Crema Catalana)

Serves 4
Ingredients

  • 5 medium egg yolks
  • 375g double cream
  • 200g full fat milk
  • 75g caster sugar
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Seeds of 1 vanilla pod
  • Extra caster sugar to finish

Method

Add the vanilla seeds and orange zest to the cream and in a pan. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat.

Mix together the egg yolks and caster sugar in a bowl. Add the milk in stages and stir to combine.

Pour mixture into 4 wide moulds or ramekins and cook in a bain-marie at 100°C until set. Refrigerate for 2 hours until chilled.

Sprinkle each with a fine, even layer of caster sugar and gently flame with a blowtorch* until golden, taking care not to burn the sugar. Return to the fridge for 5 min to set.

* If you don’t have a blowtorch you can always use a grill for the final stage, although it’s harder to get as crisp and glassy a finish on the sugar.

Shattered Creme Catalan by chef Simon Shaw of El Gato Negro Tapas