It might look like I’ve gone a bit off course lately, but July is my 1 year anniversary for the blog and I’ve decided to do a bit of a review of what I’ve learned.
Last week was a pastry dough and this week I wanted to do a crème.
By chance my parents just returned from a holiday in France where they popped over the border into Spain on a day trip.
They picked me up a Crema Catalana iron (they know me too well) and I was dying to try it out.
The iron came with a little printed out recipe in broken English which was sometimes tricky to read. I referred to Michel Roux’s recipe as well and to be honest I wish I’d just used his from start to finish.
The custard is similar to a basic crème pâtissière flavoured with crushed fennel seeds, cinnamon, lemon zest and orange zest.
The recipe provided was actually quite bland and only used sugar in the burnt topping.
I don’t know if this is the authentic way to cook it, but to me it wasn’t sweet or rich enough. I’ve revised the recipe below which I think will be much tastier than the version I made – reduced the amount of milk and added sugar.
The iron was great fun to use in any case.
4 egg yolks plus 2 full eggs
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp crushed fennel seeds
1 small cinnamon stick
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
100g caster sugar
Heat the milk until boiling with the fennel seeds, cinnamon and zest. Take it off the heat, then sit for 10 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse.
Beat the eggs and yolks in a bowl along with the sugar and the two flours.
Strain the warm milk mixture into the eggs, stirring constantly.
Return to the heat in a clean saucepan and cook over a medium heat until the custard thickens – around 3 minutes.
Spoon into flat ramekins and refrigerate for 2 hours or until set.
Sprinkle extra sugar over the custards. Heat the iron for a few minutes, then press down on the sugar until it becomes caramel.
If you don’t have an iron, you can use a blowtorch the way you would for a crème brûlée.