Baba’s La Crema

  • Servings : 6
  • Prep Time : 30m
  • Cook Time : 15m
  • Ready In : 1:30 h

Baba’s La Crema is served simply as a custard

Here Baba recalls how his mother used to make La Crema layered into pastries, and the ones he used to love from the old Marshall Field’s right here in the great city of Chicago!

Baba recalls…

Making La Crema is an art. You gotta get used to it. You need a lot of patience and to use a double boiler, you need to watch it.  It’s got to be a slow enough, long enough cooking process  to incorporate the taste of the flour which I don’t like, but retain the thickness. I have tried with cornstarch and it’s just as good. But flour is more Italian.

Mama was famous for La Crema. We always have this for the holidays.  La Crema was something that was only for Christmas.  It’s delicious! In Italy you get sfoligata is a real real thin flour cake, over here they make Napolenas like that. You put a layer of that, a layer of cream. I used to call them ‘pastacrema’, oh I was crazy about that! Over here I could never find pasta crema. The only place that used to have it was Marshall Field’s on the bakery on the third floor on State Street! They used to have their own bakery! They called them napoleans, and they were just like ‘pastacrema’!  Now when I taste Napoleans here and they have all this junk in them I don’t like. 


  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3/4 c superfine sugar
  • 1T double 0 flour
  • 2 C half and half


Step 1

Off fire in a cold double boiler, put egg yolks, sugar, beat it until it’s smooth. Little by little put one T flour while whisking.

Step 2

In another pot put half and half in pan and heat til steaming hot not simmering.

Step 3

A little at a time you add with wooden spoon hot cream until fully incorporated into creme .

Step 4

Start cooking the Crema

Step 5

Put mixture over double boiler with water at brisk boil but bowl not touching water.

Step 6

Mixing constantly with a wooden spoon over heat until really thick. never let creme it come to boil, will become grainy. once thick consistency you like, or if one or two bubbles form, take off the heat. Optional: place curl of lemon rind in warm creme and stir to combine before next step).

Step 7

- IMPORTANT - (do not let it boil or simmer or will get grainy!)

Step 8

When it becomes thick enough you take it off double boiler and put it over ice bowl and stir with wooden spoon gently until creme becomes cool. Discard lemon peel if used.

Step 9

Pour onto in a platter or serving dish and cover with plastic to seal flavors and chill until ready to serve.

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Baba is the nickname we gave..

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