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Crema Catalana

ingredients

serves 6
450 ml (3/4 pint) milk
200 ml (1/3 pint) double cream (heavy cream)
pared zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp (5 ml) fennel seeds, crushed
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup + 2 Tbls (175 g) caster sugar (superfine granulated)
2 level tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
1.25 ml (1/4 tsp) ground cinnamon

for the berries in the cassis

1 lb (450 g) strawberries
200 g (7 oz) blueberries
1/4 cup (4 Tbls) 50 g caster sugar (superfine granulated)
4 tbsp (60 ml) creme de cassis
juice of 1/2 lemon

method

1. Place the milk, cream, lemon zest and crushed fennel in a heavy-based saucepan.

2. Heat to boiling point, then set aside to infuse for 30 minutes.

3. Beat the egg yolks, 125 g (4 oz) of the sugar and the cornflour together in a small bowl until light and fluffy.

4. Strain the infused milk on to the egg yolk mixture, a little at a time, stirring constantly.

5. Pour into a saucepan. Cook over a low heat, stirring constantly, until the cream thickens and almost comes to the boil; this will take 6-8 minutes.

6. Immediately remove from the heat.

7. Pour into six 150 ml (1/4pint) ramekins or custard pots. Allow to cool, then cover loosely with tin foil and place in the refrigerator overnight to set.

8. Halve or quarter the strawberries, depending on size, and place in a bowl with the blueberries.

9. Sprinkle with the caster sugar, cassis and lemon juice. Toss together, then cover and chill.

10. Preheat the grill until very hot.

11. Mix the remaining 50 g (2 oz) sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over the custards.

12. Place under the hot grill until the sugar has caramelised.

13. Allow to stand for at least 20 minutes, before serving with the macerated fruit.

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