Classic Crema Catalana
- 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1/3 cup plus 8 tsp. sugar
- 5 egg yolks
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
In a saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the cream, cinnamon stick, lemon zest and the 1/3 cup sugar, stirring often, until the sugar dissolves, 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside to steep and cool slightly, 10 to 15 minutes.
In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and vanilla until blended. Strain the cream mixture through a fine-mesh sieve set over a clean bowl, then whisk into the yolk mixture. Divide the custard among four 10-oz. cazuelas or ramekins. Set them in the baking pan and add boiling water to fill the pan halfway up the sides of the cazuelas.
Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil and bake until the custards are just set, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the cazuelas to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until well chilled, 3 to 4 hours.
Just before serving, sprinkle 2 tsp. sugar evenly over each custard. Using a culinary torch, melt the sugar according to the manufacturer's instructions until golden. Serve immediately.