Andorra: Crema Catalana

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To be honest, I had to look up where Andorra was. It is not surprising though that I didn’t know where it was… it’s the tiny dot nestled in between Spain and France. Being so small, there is no distinct Andorran cuisine. Andorran cuisine is largely Catalan cuisine which is a Mediterranean cuisine which originates from Catalonia, Spain. There are some French influences on the cuisine of Andorra too though.

This weekend, Jamie and I are at my sister’s house for a birthday celebration. I have two sisters, and we all have our birthdays in January, so every year, we have a joint birthday celebration. We had plans to go out for dinner, so I thought that for Andorra, instead of making a main course meal, I would make a dessert for our birthdays.

I chose to make Crema Catalana, which is very similar to Creme Brulee.

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Creme Catalana

1 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 stick cinnamon
grated rind of 1 lemon
2 cups milk

In a pot, beat together the egg yolks and 3/4 cup sugar until thoroughly blended and the mixture turns frothy. Add the cinnamon stick and grated lemon rind. Pour in the milk and cornstarch. Slowly heat the mixture, stirring constantly, just until thickened. Remove pot from heat immediately.

Tip: As soon as the mixture thickens and you feel resistance while stirring, remove the pot from the heat or the mixture may curdle or separate! The texture of the finished crema will be grainy instead of smooth and creamy as it should be.

Remove the cinnamon stick and ladle the milk mixture into 4-6 ramekins (depending on size). Allow to cool, then refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours.

Before serving, preheat the broiler. Remove ramekins with the crema catalana from refrigerator and sprinkle the rest of the sugar over each ramekin. When broiler is hot, place the ramekins under the broiler on the top shelf and allow the sugar to caramelize, turning gold and brown. This may take 10 minutes or so, depending on your broiler. Remove and serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy of: http://spanishfood.about.com/od/dessertssweets/r/cremacatalanar.htm

(Also, I only had four ramekins, but there were six of us, so I used my punch glasses instead. It worked. But it wouldn’t work to put these under the broiler, so we used my brother in laws welding torch. Worked quite well actually).

For being so “fancy” of a dessert, it was actually really easy to make. I’m definitely saving this recipe to pull out sometime I need to impress some dinner guests.

Next stop on my journey cooking my way around the world, Angola. (In case you missed my last post about Algeria, check it out here).

(Sorry for the relatively short post tonight… but it is 2:50am and I am quite tired. Goodnight fellow cooking enthusiasts).

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