Barcelona as I came across, is a dreamy, romantic and mesmerising city, an inimitable potpourri of the world’s most amazing architectural wonders subtly intertwined with the countless alluring cafes around every corner where I would indulge myself into some totally delectable tapas, paella and some unbelievably delicious sea food preparations; and a shopping haven with exclusive and brand stores displaying some really chic and elegant collections that one can fall in love with at first sight.
Generally in Barcelona, I found that people dressed up with a lot of taste and sophistication. I visited Spain when the weather was still cold, and I soaked my eyes in the elegance and appeal that the winter couture of men and women around us exuberated as we moved around in the heart of the city’s shopping places. So in addition to my unforgettable Spanish Cuisine rendezvous, the haute couture shopping pursuits there, can very much be added to the list of reasons why I fell in love with Barcelona.
Actually, I was able to draw an analogy between the style quotient of Barcelona and their passion for culinary sophistication. There’s the same panache, passion and essence in the couture and cuisine.
Simple yet sophisticated;
familiar yet mysterious;
blended and yet very distinct……..
And I found this to be especially true when I learned the preparation Crème Catalana – a dessert very local, unassuming yet full of rich flavors, elegance and taste.
While learning this delicacy from my trainer chef was an enriching experience; back home, when I recreated this dessert for friends and family, it was like euphoria all over again.
This time around, I could safely mirror the recipe that the chef had taught me……and it surprises me how simple ingredients come together to make a delicious and impeccable dessert.
So, to get going with my Crème Catalana, all I needed was –
1 litre of full milk
Rind of one large lemon
1 cinnamon stick about 2 inches
6 egg yolks
40g or 2 tablespoons of Corn flour
Boil the milk with the lemon rind and cinnamon stick in it to fully infuse flavours. Remove from heat and remove the rind and cinnamon stick and allow it to cool a bit.
Meanwhile, beat egg yolks and sugar till it stiffens. Add this to the infused milk and ensure it blends well. Once it has blended, cook the mixture on a low flame stirring continuously.
Dissolve the corn flour in 4 tablespoons of milk and stir it into the mixture and continue to cook till the milk thickens. We need to keep stirring all this while.
At this point, remove from the heat and pour the mixture into serving bowls and keep in the refrigerator to set for about an hour.
Once set, garnish with caramelised sugar nougats and serve.
Now watch with joy and a sense of gratification as you see your loved ones relish your Yummy creation.
My trainer had made us use traditional terracotta bowls for setting the dessert for giving the complete local touch and taste. Though back home, I had to make do with cut glass dessert bowls due to the absence of terracotta bowls in my collection of cutlery and tableware.
Another very important point I have to make here, use of the caramelised nougats as garnish was a stand-in, my brainchild totally. There in my class, I had sprinkled sugar granules on the set dessert and caramelised it with a blowtorch and allowed the sugar to harden before serving. Back home, no blow torch! So creative juices had to flow and look for substitute. That’s how the nougats happened.
The next time I make Crème Catalana, I am first going to make a trip to the potters’ market and gift myself a set of terracotta bowls. And yes! I am also going to get hold of a blow torch from somewhere if I don’t buy one in the meanwhile.
Couple of pictures here are of the Cuisine class I took, to give my readers a sneak peek into El Dulce de Espana and rest are of my very own version of Crème Catalana.
So when are you trying out your version? Let your creative juices flow and let the world get acquainted to many more Yummy Expressions….
See you guys soon with much more!