Crema Catalana (creme brulee dessert) - Stock Image

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close up picture of a clay plate that contains crema catalana on white background from above. Crema catalana (Catalan for "Catalan cream"), also known as Crema de Sant Josep, is a typical dessert of Catalonia, consisting of a custard base crème caramel and a caramelized, crisp sugar topping. It is usually served on Saint Joseph's Day, March 19.

Catalans claim that their Crema catalana is the predecessor of France's crème brûlée, though many regions lay claim to the origin of the dessert. The main difference between the two is that crema catalana is not baked in bain-marie as crème brûlée is. Another chief difference is that crème brûlée is made dominantly with heavy cream, while crema catalana is made with both milk and heavy cream.

Crema catalana is made with egg yolks, sugar, lemon and orange zest, cinnamon, milk and flour, forming a custard-like base. Just before serving, sugar is sprinkled over the top and caramelized with a red-hot specially-made iron or blow torch, creating a hot, crunchy contrast to the cool custard underneath.
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