Skip to content

Catalan cream dessert: recipe and history


The Catalan cream dessert is typical from Spain, from Catalonia being more specific. It´s a dessert really well known all over the country and most people would choose it as one of their favourite Spanish desserts

You may have not heard about crema Catalana until now, but it´s actually the Spanish version of the French creme brûlée which may sound more familiar to you.

What is Catalan cream dessert??


What is Crema Catalana?? The Catalan cream or also known as the Spanish “Crema Catalana” is a sweet dessert from Spain, and a tradition in Catalonia. Everyone loves this dessert but in the Catalonian region is a must! 

The key of the Catalonia cream is based on the contrast between the crunchy caramelized layer on the top and the cream at the bottom.

Catalan cream recipe

Everyone think the Catalan cream recipe is complicated, but the truth is that this Spanish dessert recipe is way easier than what you can imagine. There is just one big problem about it, and it´s also the reason why not everyone wants to do it at home: You will need to keep it for a long time (3/4 hours) at the fridge. But we can guarantee you that this time the wait and being patient is totally worth it.

Crema Catalana Ingredients

  • 7 beaten eggs
  • Half lemons zest and half orange zest
  • Cinnamon
  • 1 liter of Milk
  • 200 grams of sugar
  • 20-30 grams of cornstarch

How to make crema Catalana??

  1. Put half of the milk, eggs (Beaten) and cornstarch in a bowl and mix it all together
  2. In a saucepan place some milk, sugar, cinnamon and the lemon and orange zest and start boiling it.
  3. After three to five minutes add the first bowl of eggs and milk on the saucepan.
  4. Strain the mixture and put it back on the pan. Keep it to medium heat for around 7-8 minutes.
  5. Once is creamy and a little bit thicker turn off the heat and serve it in different bowls.
  6. Let it cool off for a few minutes before putting it in the refrigerator for about 3-4 hours
  7. Last of all, once is done, add some sugar and caramel. Then burn it with a blowtorch
  8. Your easy crema Catalana recipe is done!

History of the Catalan Cream dessert

Before telling you all the details about the Crema Catalana history, you should know that in Spain the traditional crema Catalana is known as “Crema de Sant Joseph” and it is served every 19th of March (St Joseph´s day) which it´s also fader´s day.

Where does crema Catalana come from?


The Crema Catalana origin comes from different theories and legends. On one side it is said that the nuns of a convent where preparing a flan for the visit of an important bishop, but this one turned to be liquid, so the nuns pour some sugar to it and left the spoons ready like if they were actually trying to do a cream.

On the other hand, the more realistic story comes from England and it is said that the Spanish crema Catalana is inspired on the Creme Anglaise which is also known as burned cream.

The first recipe of the Catalan cream is found at the Llibre de Sent Soví from the XIV century.

Crema Catalana ice cream

This Catalan dessert has become really popular, which in hands of the best chefs and experts lead to try different variations. The most popular one was mixing it with ice cream. As most of the people love ice cream someone once decided that mixing the hot Catalan cream with cold vanilla ice cream was a great idea and he/she was right. Now in many restaurants the Catalan cream is served with ice cream on a side.

But the best creation of all, was to create a Catalan cream ice cream, which is now one of the most popular types of ice creams in the parlours of Spain.

Crema Catalana price

It is true that the Catalan cream dessert is a speciality in Spain. It´s delicious and unique from the country, but that does not mean it´s extremely expensive as many people think. The Catalan Cream price depends on the area where you eat. If you are eating at one of the best crema Catalana places in Barcelona the price will be way higher than in a random place at a random street of Catalonia. But generally, the price will be between 1,5€ and 4€ which is almost the same as the rest of the desserts.

Enjoy one of the best Catalan desserts