Dulce de leche is a South American born gem that translates to milk jam. It tastes and looks like caramel without the overwhelming sweetness. It is believed that Dulce de Leche is not evolved as a confection but instead as a way of preserving the milk without refrigeration in tropical climates. God bless those tropical climates so that today we get to eat this! How to eat? Well, start with directly spooning from the jar. Then it is up to your imagination and taste. You can use it as base and make dulce de leche brownies, macarons with dulce de leche ganache, dulce de leche ice-cream, cookies and what not. (Hopefully, these links will be active as I add these recipes to my blog.)
You can make this from scratch which involves a long cooking time with occasional (or better- constant) stirring or take the short cut! It is pretty easy. You just need to bake store bought sweetened condensed milk in the oven. I’ve also learned that it is possible to boil the can in deep water but you need to make sure that the can does not stay at the bottom of the cooker, on direct heat, otherwise it might get ugly! I’ve even read that some people do this in pressure cooker. Well, I’m not gonna try that! Sometimes it still gives me chills to cook usual things in pressure cooker, let alone a full can. As a child I was traumatized when my parents told me that pressure cookers can explode!
Dulce de Leche (Confiture de Lait)
Adapted from The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments by David Lebovitz
1 can (400 gr/14 ounces) of sweetened condensed milk
Few flecks of sea salt
1. Preheat the oven to 425° F (220° C).
2. Pour one can (400 gr/14 ounces) of sweetened condensed milk into a glass pie plate or shallow baking dish.
3. Stir in a few flecks of sea salt (if available fleur de sel) to balance the sweetness.
4. Set the pie plate within a larger pan, such as a roasting pan, and add hot water until it reaches halfway up the side of the pie plate.
5. Tightly cover the pie plate with aluminum foil and bake for 60 to 75 minutes. (Check a few times during baking and add more water to the roasting pan as necessary).
6. Once the Dulce de Leche is nicely browned and caramelized, remove from the oven and let cool.
7. Once cool, whisk until smooth. (It may seem curdled at this point but after whisking it becomes smooth.)
8. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Warm gently in a warm water bath or microwave oven before using.