Barcelona

Women’s boxing made its Olympic debut yesterday, with India’s Mary Korn beating Poland’s Karolina Michalczak. Romanian gymnast Sandra Raluca Izbasa took the gold medal in the women’s vault competition with US gymnast McKayla Maroney taking silver. Jamaican runner Usain Bolt won gold in the men’s 100m final, setting a new Olympic record.
Day ten of the 2012 Summer Olympics feature brings us the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics. These Games featured the last time live doves were released (they were released prior to the Opening Ceremonies in order to avoid a repeat of the incident that happened in Seoul four years prior). The mascot for the Barcelona Summer Olympics was Cobi, who is Lane’s favorite mascot (we’re a little partial to Spain around here . . . ). 169 nations competed in the 1992 Summer Olympics, the first non-boycotted Games since 1970. Baseball made its Olympic debut, along with women’s judo and badminton.

Today’s recipe is one of my absolute favorite in this lineup. Crema Catalana is a dessert similar to creme brulee that originates in Catalonia. Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, an autonomous community of Spain. Crema Catalana is the national dessert of Catalonia, and is a favorite dessert in the area. This is pretty quickly put together, not counting the time that the custard needs to set in the refrigerator. To make the crust of sugar on top, I use a small kitchen torch. I’ve used a broiler in the past, with varying results. The sugar should melt, then caramelize, and you should stop heating it just shy of the sugar burning. The resulting dessert should have a thick custard, covered by a layer of caramelized hardened sugar that cracks when you stick a spoon into it. You can also add your favorite toppings (fruit is popular in the summer), but I think it’s pretty fantastic just the way it is.

Crema Catalana

Ingredients:

  • 4 C. whole milk
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 lemon rind
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 6 Tbsp. of sugar
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

Heat the milk and lemon rind, cinnamon stick, and vanilla in a large pan over medium high heat.

In a bowl, beat the eggs and 1 C. of sugar until frothy.

Mix the cornstarch in a small amount (about 1/4 C.) milk until dissolved.

Add the cornstarch mixture to the egg mixture.

When the milk starts to boil, remove the lemon rind, reduce the heat to low, and add the egg mixture a little at a time (do this slowly, while whisking, or you will cook and scramble the egg), whisking constantly until combined.

Leave the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, for 3-5 minutes, until it thickens very slightly, but do not allow the egg to curdle.

Pour mixture evenly into six individual sized oven-safe dishes (such as 7 oz. ramekins) and let them cool down.

Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

When ready to serve, sprinkle 1 Tbsp. sugar over each ramekin, and use a kitchen torch to heat the sugar until it bubbles and browns. Alternately, you can heat the broiler and place the ramekins under the broiler, close to the heat, until sugar bubbles then browns.

Allow sugar to cool completely before eating.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: adapted from The Spanish Blog

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