●Brown sugar (soft light brown sugar, light brown sugar, or other sugar of your choice)
Combine the milk, cream, and zest (peeled into large strips) in a pan and heat (but don't bring to a boil).
Combine the sugar, corn starch, and egg yolks in a bowl and mix with a whisk. Add a few drops of vanilla essence.
Add the milk mixture from Step 1 to the mixture from Step 2 a little at a time. Strain everything through a tea strainer and return it to the pan.
Turn on the heat once more and keep stirring the mixture until it thickens.
Pour the mixture into small cocottes or small cazuela dishes. Mix the ingredients marked with ● together and sprinkle evenly over the surface of the custard.
Using a small kitchen blowtorch, or by positioning the dishes directly under the top grill of a preheated toaster oven (with the setting on only the top heat elements), bake the surface of the dessert until the sugar caramelizes.
Once cooled, chill in the fridge for a few hours.
It's ready. This dessert goes great with coffee.
How to serve:
After you've prepared the custard, pour it into the individual dishes and chill in the fridge. Make the caramel layer just before you are ready to serve.
Prepared this way, you can enjoy an even thicker custard. Chilled custard also has a slightly different, yet still delicious flavour.
Story Behind this Recipe
This recipe is quite sweet, but the one my friend made for me in Catalonia was even sweeter. I really like cinnamon sugar, so I committed a sin and changed the recipe around a bit.
The cinnamon flavour and zest are essential to this recipe. Add plenty of brown sugar and cook until lovely and crispy. Cook on a high heat from start to finish. The sugar will caramelize very quickly, so to prevent burning it, don't leave it unattended.