To paraphrase the well-known Italian motto "Either France or Spain, as long as we can eat", today I present to you the happy marriage of a Spanish recipe with an Italian one.

The two recipes do not come together, but I just tried the combination and the result was quite convincing, so I present it to you! Of course you are perfectly free to prepare and eat these desserts (yes, today we talk about desserts, two of them!) separately, but at least you'll know that eating them together it's not going to hurt you … Indeed, quite the opposite!

In addition, these two desserts are very easy to prepare (these recipes could be useful on many occasions) and, more interesting, they are perfectly complementary, since one uses only egg whites and the other uses only egg yolks… then, as for the pork, we don't throw anything away (I already showed you here that you shouldn't throw anything away, even egg whites)!

I have at least intrigued you a little?! So come and find out what sweets I'm talking about!

…. drum roll … I'm talking about Catalan cream and cat tongues! I'd appreciate a bit of enthusiasm, a couple of applause or, let's say, a sincere "oohh" of astonishment. No, eh?! So as a punishment (what punishment?!) I leave you to the recipe and no more chatting … Maybe for your punishment I should write another twenty lines, but I'm a good person, so I pardon you!

 

CATALAN CREAM

Ingredients (4 servings)

* 4 egg yolks

* 500 ml milk

* a lemon peel, grated

* a piece of cinnamon stick (optional)

* 25 g corn flour (or tapioca, or flour)

* 100 g granulated sugar

* brown sugar (to garnish)

Procedure

First, dissolve corns flour in cold milk (approximately a half glass), then put the remaining milk in a saucepan with lemon peel, 50 g of granulated sugar and cinnamon (if you decided to put it; cinnamon is optional because not everybody like it, but cinnamon will give to cream a very special taste). Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar, then remove the pan from the heat. At this point, in a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the remaining sugar, then add corn flour dissolved in cold milk. When they are well mixed, add (stirring) the mixture of hot milk, filtered through a strainer.

Now put the mixture in a pot (I recommend you to use the same pan, so you avoid dirtying another pot) and bring it to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly; let it cook for about two minutes and then remove it from heat. You should now have a smooth cream. Pour the cream, still warm, in 4 small oven dishes and, once cooled, put them in the refrigerator.

When serving, sprinkle the cream with brown sugar and use a torch to caramelize sugar. If you don't have this tool, similar to a small blowtorch, you could put the little oven dishes under the oven grill for a few minutes to allow sugar to caramelize. To prevent the cold Catalan cream cold to "go crazy" when you put it in the oven, although for a few minutes, put the oven dishes in a larger container with ice or cold water in it.

CAT TONGUES

Ingredients

* 4 egg whites at room temperature

* 100 g soft unsalted butter

* 100 g flour

* 100 g icing sugar

* vanilla extract (I used grated lemon peel,'cause I like more this flavor)

Procedure

Beat the butter with a spoon, gradually adding icing sugar until the butter consistency is creamy (very soft). Then gradually add vanilla extract (or grated lemon peel), flour and the egg whites at room temperature, one at a time (don't worry if you put them all together: pour them in little by little), up to full amalgamation.

Preheat oven to 390° F (200° C).

Now put the mixture in a pastry bag with a nozzle of 5-6 mm in diameter and form with it sticks about 5-6 mm long and about 1 cm wide on a nonstick baking pan or a "normal" one covered with parchment paper. Be sure to leave a few centimeters between a stick and another, 'cause the dough expands during cooking, taking the form of a large and thin cat tongue.

Bake in preheated oven for about 7 or 8 minutes, or until cookies edges begin to be golden brown. Once you baked them, pull out immediately the cat tongues from the pan with a spatula (if you leave them on the baking pan, then it will be difficult to remove them without breaking them, 'cause they are very fragile) and let them cool down. The cookies remain fragrant if you keep them in a tin box with a lid.

While still hot, the cat tongues are very malleable, and you can give them different forms (for example a spiral one).

I hope that this combination not only meets your eyes, but also your palate …


 

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