Dulce de Leche

My mother’s side of the family are from Argentina and until I was about nine, every Christmas we would spend a month on the other side of the world at my grandparents’ Estancia, spending Christmas Day on the beach and enjoying an asado almost every evening. Being a kid, the fact that we were doing this outside in December never lost its magic!

I’ll never forget the taste of the honey produced by wild bees on the Estancia – thick, golden and delicious, perfect for dripping slowly onto freshly made bread.

But, better than an asado, better than honey is Dulce de Leche:

Dulce de leche … is a milk-based sauce. Found as both a syrup and a caramel candy, it is prepared by slowly heating sweetened milk to create a product that is similar in taste to caramel. It is also the basis for the elaboration of many sweets and desserts which form part of the classics of the Argentine gastronomy.

You can buy it over here but it’s ridiculously expensive and having done numerous taste tests with tins sent from Argentina, I can honestly say it really isn’t the same.

I’ve got it on my mind at the moment as we bought some Dulce de Leche ice cream ages ago and had it with our Cake in a Mug. Last night, I left a comment over at LittleFfarm Dairy about it and now it’s in my head!

So, if not to buy, the only option left is to make it and that sounds like a great project.

Mum claims she and her brother and sister used to make “perfect” dulce de leche using tins on condensed milk when they went camping in the mountains in south Argentina. Basically, they’d carefully pack their ponies and the mule so that some tins were in the position where they were most likely to get shaken about and at the end of each day’s ride along rocky mountain paths, the condensed milk, heated by the sun and shaken to death, would be pure sugary goodness.

Sadly, that option is not available to me so I’ll have to find another and these recipes look like the best candidates:

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! Waistline, beware! 😀

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10 responses to this post.

  1. We make it using something similar to eHow’s method with good results. The main difference is that we don’t poke holes in the tin… since the sweetened condensed milk will boil at a much higher temperature than the water it is submerged in I don’t see the need.

  2. Cheers Daniel! I’ll *have* to give it a try now!!

  3. We make it with goats milk – truly yummy – but it does takes hours standing over the stove stirring. One day we’ll sell it – you could be our first customers±

  4. Oh dear, to ease the environmental impact of that delivery, I’d have to order A LOT… 🙂

  5. Excellent – apparently what ‘we’ make is Cajeta – but seemingly it’s very close…

  6. If it’s very sugary and doesn’t fall off the spoon then it’s all good!!

  7. My mother used to make something similar to ehow’s back in Australia, and her technique was to put a dent in the side of the tin. When the dent popped out, it was ready.

    I still remember the day when it didn’t quite go according to plan. She was talking to by grandfather and didn’t keep a close eye on the condensed milk boiling away in the pan.

    Suddenly, there was an enormous boom and the room filled with thick, creamy, sticky steam. When it cleared, condensed milk stalagmites were hanging off the ceiling and the bottoms of the cupboards, dribbles of milk were running down the walls, and the whole kitchen smelled like a caramel factory.

    It took a very long time to clean up.

  8. Oh my! Given that the flat’s rented, that’s my worst nightmare. Tins will be punctured, whether they like it or not!

    Though the aroma could have been a lot worse!

  9. We made a batch last weekend, using Pim’s recipe and a double boiler instead of a sauce pan. It ended up turning out really well and requires minimal stirring.

  10. Thanks, Daniel. I’ve still not got round to trying a batch but it’s good to hear from other people about what works – and how it tastes!!!

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