One of our most popular desserts at Brindisa. The Spanish version of crème brûlée speaks of sunshine. Caramelised figs make it that bit more special.
Traditionally, crema catalana was made only on St Joseph’s Day (the Spanish equivalent of Father’s Day), on 19 March, by grannies and maiden aunts. These days, there are lots of powdered, just-add-milk custard preparations on the market – and my mother makes about a litre a day for my niece Marina and nephew Juan when they come to stay. They love it. Me, I prefer the traditional version.
While Spanish crema catalana and the French crème brûlée are different in some respects, the two desserts are very similar. Though of course crema catalana is more delicious! It is made from a mixture of milk and egg and is set by chilling, while crème brûlée is made with cream and is set by baking in the oven, often in a bain-marie. The effect on people is the same: this dessert is always on the menu because it is hugely popular. I ring the changes by serving it with caramelised figs.