Citrus and Cinnamon Crema Catalana

Serves 8

Instructions

Bring milk to a boil with the lemon peel, orange peel and cinnamon sticks.  Simmer slowly 2 minutes, turn off heat and let steep 1 hour.  Strain milk and discard peel and cinnamon sticks.

With a whisk, ribbon the egg yolks and 1/2 cup of the sugar.  Beat in the cornstarch.  Stir in a few tablespoons of the hot milk, then add the egg yolk mixture to the rest of the milk.

Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until thick and smooth, 5 minutes.  Pour the custard into 8 crema Catalana ramekins, about 5-inches across, 1-inch deep and 5-ounces in capacity.  Cool and then refrigerate.

Combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar with a large pinch nutmeg.  Before serving, sprinkle each custard evenly with 1 tablespoon sugar/nutmeg.  To caramelize the sugar, use a hot metal "branding iron" which is smaller than the width of the dessert dish.  Caramelize the sugar until it has melted completely and a hard golden brown crust.

Serve immediately.  The sugar will stay hard for 30 minutes.

Ingredients

3 1/2 cups milk
1 lemon, peeled with a vegetable peeler
1 orange, peeled with a vegetable peeler
4 cinnamon sticks
8 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Ground nutmeg

Citrus and Cinnamon Crema Catalana