Quince crème catalan with campari caramel
( SERVES 4 )
The Catalunya region of Spain is famous for its gastronomic history. Very similar to a French crème brûlee, crème catalan is a rich custard covered with a caramelised sugar coating. You don't have to use quince, but it adds a subtle fragrance.
- In a bowl dissolve the cornflour in 2 tablespoons of the milk, then whisk in the egg yolks and set aside.
- In a saucepan bring the remaining milk to a simmer with 125g of the sugar, the peel of half the lemon and the cinnamon stick.
- Simmer for 10 minutes, then slowly pour the hot milk into the cornflour mixture.
- Return to a clean saucepan over a low heat and stir constantly until the custard bubbles.
- To prepare the quince: peel, seed and quarter the quince, rubbing with lemon to prevent browning.
- Bring the sugar and water to the boil in a saucepan, then add the fruit and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Cool in the syrup, then remove the quarters and slice thinly.
- Arrange the quince slices in the bottom of four 6cm ramekins or shallow Spanish earthenware bowls.
- Strain the custard into a jug and divide the mixture between the ramekins. Cool until set.
- While the custards cool, prepare the caramel. Put the remaining sugar, the Campari and water into a saucepan, and cook to a light caramel.
- Pour onto a piece of non-stick paper on a flat baking sheet and allow to set, then break the caramel into shards.
- Use a food processor to turn the pieces into coarse breadcrumbs.
- Sprinkle over the custards, then slide them under the grill and cook until golden brown.