The Spanish Dessert Celebrated Pastry Chef Jordi Roca Says Deserves More Attention - Exclusive

Jordi Roca headshot
Jordi Roca headshot - Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

Jordi Roca became famous for pushing the boundaries of pastry with his innovative desserts at El Celler De Can Roca in Girona, Spain. But while he earned a name for himself by coming up with new techniques and never-before-seen recipes, he never lost his taste for the traditional desserts he grew up with. As Roca told Tasting Table in an exclusive interview, the Catalonian custard dessert crema catalana is very close to his heart.

Girona is in the Catalonian region of Spain — it's not just where El Celler De Can Roca is today, but also the city where Jordi Roca was raised. His parents ran a traditional bar and restaurant there called Can Roca, and that is where Jordi first developed his love for crema catalana. The dish consists of a baked custard topped with a crunchy caramelized-sugar crust. Roca said that the "mixture of textures, between the crunchiness of the caramel and the creamy custard is wonderful." You can find crema catalana in restaurants all over Spain, but if you want to try the version that captured Jordi Roca's affections, the original Can Roca restaurant still serves it as part of its daily lunch menu.

Read more: 30 Types Of Cake, Explained

What Makes Crema Catalana Special

Crema catalana
Crema catalana - El Celler de Can Roca/Instagram

With its creamy custard base and crispy burnt-sugar topping, crema catalana is similar to crème brûlée. However, there are some important differences between the Catalonian dessert and its French cousin. Crème brûlée is typically quite rich, made with a base of heavy cream thickened with egg yolks. Crema catalana, on the other hand, uses a base of milk thickened with both starch and egg yolks, making it a little less fatty and rich on the tongue. The flavoring is usually different as well, with vanilla being traditional for crème brûlée and citrus zest and cinnamon more common in crema catalana. In both desserts, the final step after the custard is baked is to sprinkle it with sugar and torch it to create a delicious hard caramel shell.

Jordi Roca advised that with a good recipe, anyone should be able to pull off crema catalana — as long as they "make it with love and affection." It's a relatively easy way to try a taste of Spain in your home kitchen.

Make reservations to eat at El Celler de Can Roca here.

Read the original article on Tasting Table