Paula is an entrepreneur from Uruguay. She has been living in Barcelona since 2018 and in this article she will teach us how to cook Crema Catalana.
My name is Ana Paula Presa, I am 32 years old, I am Uruguayan and I was born in Montevideo. By profession I am an accountant but cooking has always been a passion for me since I was little. I really like cooking, but I also enjoy doing yoga, walking outdoors, and being around friends.
I arrived in Barcelona in July 2018 after having traveled Asia for 6 months. I felt that Uruguay was “small” for me and traveling was the excuse to try my luck abroad and finally settle in Barcelona, it was love at first sight. I already knew the city but always as a tourist. Living here made me get to know Barcelona from another perspective and I felt at home.
When I arrived, my partner and I wanted to try another life, leave the office and routine behind, that’s when the odyssey began: do the typical paperwork, look for a job, find a place to live, etc. That’s where the idea arose to try my luck in the gastronomic world, which was what I had always liked. My fear was not being able to find anything since I did not have extensive studies in the field, other than short courses and self-study on the subject.
For my surprise, I immediately found a job in a pastry shop where I spent two years being in charge of making the place’s pastries on a daily basis. It was a huge learning experience for me, and also entering that world that I had known as a child in Uruguay.
When the Covid arrived, the idea of undertaking also came. I had already started a business in Uruguay at the age of 19, I made decorated cakes and sold them online and to acquaintances, but the entrepreneur was always in my head and in my soul.
This is how in 2020 MI DESAYUNO MOLA was born. I opted for a gastronomic idea that was completely homemade, where my concept was to surprise customers with boxes full of homemade food and that would remind them of the food they made at home.
My motivation was always to surprise, to pamper, with something as simple as food. I felt that there was a great niche for homemade food, especially breakfasts delivered to your home. It seemed to me that I could add value there and give it my touch.
That’s how it started and little by little it grew, at first only offering different types of boxed breakfasts, but then they started asking me for alfajores and cakes. Entering the Uruguayan/Argentinian community was the easiest thing since we share very similar flavors, my biggest challenge was reaching customers from all over the world, including Catalans.
Social networks were my ally for sales and growth, but also surrounding myself with people who could assist me where I didnt know. At the beginning one is the boss, the cook, the cleaner, the community manager, in charge of organizing orders, photographer, delivery, etc. But over time I was able to delegate certain points and surround myself with magnificent people who assist me in moments of work intensity.
Last year I started catering for companies and events, which was another great challenge for me, not only because of the size, but also because of time. It has been a great success and it could be said that in the short term I am expanding it to more offices and more events.
I love Spanish gastronomy, it is very close to ours, the Mediterranean flavors are incredible. Both the amount of offer and variety of food and prices make Barcelona one of the places, in my opinion, with the greatest gastronomic variety.
I feel that Barcelona is a super cosmopolitan city, and I have realized that the quantity and mix of culture makes the city special and I think that it is partly the great tourist attraction. I love the beach and its coast, I have had the opportunity to travel a lot in Spain and I can affirm that the Catalan Costa Brava is unique!
I recommend the typical dessert here: The Catalan Cream. This is my version, there are as many recipes as there are varieties of places to try them! Some serve it cold or lukewarm. I like it warm with the freshly burned caramel.
450g of whole milk
100g of white sugar
30g corn starch
90g butter cut into cubes
Optional: vanilla/cinnamon/lemon/orange peel
1-Heat the milk, cinnamon, lemon zest and vanilla in a bowl until it boils.
2-Mix in a separate bowl (without beating) yolks, sugar and starch.
3- Once the milk has boiled, gently add it to the yolk mixture, straining so that the cinnamon and lemon zest are not incorporated.
4-Pour both preparations into a bowl and return to low heat, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon. We cannot stop stirring to prevent it from sticking. Once we notice that it is thick and its texture has changed, we remove it from the heat.
*Tip: to know that the cream is ready, we make a groove with our finger in the wooden spoon. If the preparation remains intact then it is ready. If we notice that the groove joins, it still lacks a little.
5- Add the butter cut into cubes and stir until it dissolves. do it quickly so that the heat melts our butter. Here you can use a wire whisk.
6-Pour the preparation into a glass bowl and cover it with a film paper bareback, that is, without leaving air in the preparation, so we prevent the layer from forming. We put it in the fridge until it gets cold.
7-You can serve it in the typical Catalan cream pots, add sugar on top and burn it with a blowtorch.
You can find more about Paula and her project at her account
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