Primal Grill with Steven Raichlen
Season 3 in High Definition
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Primal Grill is filmed at Esplendor Resort in Rio Rico.
Episode: 309 :: Spanish Smoke
Catalan Cream
Method: Caramelizing with a fire-heated skillet or crème brulee iron
Advance
Preparation: 
The Catalan creams must be made at least 3 hours ahead and refrigerated and can be made as much as 24 hours in advance.
Category: Sauces
Ingredients:
For the custard:

1 quart whole milk
1 cinnamon stick (or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
1 vanilla bean, split (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)
3 strips lemon zest (the oil-rich outer rindremove it with a vegetable peeler)
12 egg yolks
1-1/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons honey
About 1 cup Sugar In The Raw (known as castor sugar in England or cassonade in French) or granulated sugar, or as needed



Other Items Needed:
6 crme brulee dishes (each about 4 inches across and 3/4 inch deeptradition calls for earthenware); crme brulee iron, a small cast iron skillet, or a kitchen blowtorch

Directions:
Make the custard. Place the milk, cinnamon, vanilla, and lemon zest in a heavy saucepan and simmer over the lowest possible heat for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and honey in a large heavy heatproof bowl. Whisk the mixture until smooth and creamy, 2 minutes. Very slowly (you dont want to cook the egg yolks) strain the hot milk into the egg mixture in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Return the pan to a medium heat, and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking steadily. The crema will thicken. Reduce the heat to the barest simmer and cook the mixture for 3 minutes, whisking steadily.

Spoon the mixture into the crme brulee dishes, shaking and tapping each to smooth the top. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or until serving. You can make the Catalan creams up to 24 hours ahead and refrigerate, but if you do, press a piece of plastic on top of each to keep it from drying out and let warm to room temperature before serving.

Just before serving, heat the brulee iron or cast iron skillet screaming hotideally in a wood-burning fireplace, or alternatively in the embers of your charcoal grill or laid flat on the grate of your gas grill. (You can even heat it on one of the burners of your stove.) Evenly sprinkle the top of each Catalan cream with 3 tablespoons sugar. Press the hot iron into the surface of the Catalan creams to caramelize the sugarthis will take a few seconds and a puff of fragrant smoke will rise as the sugar darkens. Note: the sugar should be topaz-colored to a dark golden brown, not black. Burned sugar tastes, well like burned sugar.
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