Last night I was having yet another highly hilarious night chatting with my friends on Twitter, and one of those lovely people mentioned dulce de leche. If you don’t already know, dulce de leche is a Mexican cream caramel made with sweetened condensed milk. This unctuous stuff is usually folded into ice cream, used as a filling in crepes and cookies or used in tarts and pies. Some of my recipe swap friends mentioned ages ago that she had made cajete, a dulce de leche variant made with goats milk and I had purchased several cans of it for that express purpose, and then lost them in the vast wasteland of my capacious pantry. I have been meaning to try it because I truly adore all things caramel, the Three Twins and Mitchell’s make terrific ice creams, and of course I have an idea of making a caramel apple pie, sort of like a fast and dirty tarte tatin. Another dear person on Twitter suggested making shortbread cookies filled with the dulce and topped with dark chocolate and sea salt. Zing!! I just happen to have everything on hand to make these. Imagine that…
Traditionally dulce de leche is made on the stove, boiled for several hours stirring frequently. However, a radical and highly amusing method has been touted where one courageously boils the sweetened condensed milk right in the can. The only caveat being to this method is that one must maintain a minimum of an inch of water above the can otherwise one risks the can exploding. Exploding!!!!
Last night when this was mentioned on Twitter my ears perked up immediately and I queried whether I could make dulce de leche in the crockpot, rather than on the stove top. It was already after 9:00 pm last night and I really didn’t feel like “working” in the kitchen at that hour. Not that has stopped me in the past! (Snork!). Thanks to Ashley, she found a recipe for me for dulce de leche in the crockpot! Love the power of Twitter! The recipe is here.
I jumped to the pantry, began pulling out things right and left, exclaiming, “Oh, I didn’t know I had that“, and finally I found the canned goat’s milk. The crockpot was still on the counter from its last use of chicken stock (cleaned of course), so I filled it with hot water, set it to low, and retired for the evening, where the can would quietly simmer for 8 hours or so.
But then I returned to the kitchen to take a better look at the can. It was canned evaporated goats milk, not sweetened condensed goats milk. The trick with the long cooking process is to caramelize the sugars in the milk and, obviously, evaporated milk is not sweetened. Back to Twitter I went and posed the question, do you think this will work? And, of course, the general consensus was no. But I was willing to give it a go regardless, then thought better of it, and rummaged through the pantry once more. Happily, like a genie, my pantry yielded a can of sweetened condensed milk! So out came the goat milk! In went the sweetened milk! And back I went to bed!
This morning I retrieved the can, not being awakened in the middle of the night with any untoward explosions of hot caramel from the kitchen, thank gawd! The can was a tiny bit distended, but was just fine, and after a long cooling process, I finally got the nerve up to open it.
Ooooo. It was perfect. I had to try it immediately, and sunk a spoon into the rich, creamy depths. Oh. My. I think I have found the 10th level of heaven! It took a great deal of will power and courage of my convictions to put it away in the fridge. Tomorrow, if I don’t have to take a field trip for the book I am helping write, I will make up a batch of cookies.
Or maybe I will just eat it with ice cream.
Or eat it a spoon while I inventory what is in my pantry, because who knows what other things lurk in there. (hee hee)
We shall see! But now that I know just how easy dulce de leche is to make I think I will have to place this on the highly dangerous lists of amazing foods, like pig candy.