Bring a little bit of Spain to the table with this creamy, citrusy custard dessert.
2 cups heavy cream
3 large strips of lemon zest
5 egg yolks
1/3 cup white sugar
1.5 oz cream sherry
extra sugar for caramelizing
In a medium pot over medium-high heat, combine the cream and lemon zest and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to minimum and let the lemon zest steep for a couple minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the yolks, sugar and sherry in a bowl until wellmixed. Slowly add the flavoured cream to the yolk mixture as you whisk. Strain the mixture through a sieve and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (If you’re pressed for time, place the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice and whisk the mixture until it cools.)
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Fill six shallow, wide ramekins with the cooled custard to half-inch below the rim. Set these into an oven safe pan with high sides and carefully pour in warm water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Carefully lift this into the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the custard jiggles like Jello when you gently shake the pan. Carefully lift the pan out of the oven and let cool uncovered.
When ready to serve, sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar on top of each crema catalana and use a butane torch to caramelize the sugar to a rich brown colour.* Let the sugar cool enough to harden (about 30 seconds to a minute) and serve with a glass of oloroso sherry.
*This is an easy skill to learn, but very hard to explain. Luckily, there are plenty of online tutorials out there, so watch a couple, or better yet, find a friend who knows how to do it!