Friday, June 28, 2013

Dulce de Leche

Another fun (and delicious) experiment I tried was making traditional Dulce de Leche.  It was pretty easy, but it was time consuming, considering it has to be cooked for about 3 hours, and stirred occasionally/often.  But it was definitely worth it.  The Dulce de Leche has a great caramel flavor, but it is fuller than our traditional American caramels.  You can also taste the essence of vanilla lurking in the background.

This is the milk, sugar and vanilla bean mixture before it started to cook down.

The finished Dulce de Leche product.  It tastes absolutely wonderful.  You can put it over ice cream, poached pears, in or on a host of other desserts.  Or you can just put some in a bowl (yes, all by itself) and eat it with a spoon.  Or you could skip the bowl and just eat it from the jar.  It all works.

Dulce de Leche

  • 4 cups whole milk (yes, whole please) 
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Combine the milk, sugar, vanilla bean and seeds in a large, 4-quart saucepan.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar is dissolved, add the baking soda and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low and cook uncovered at a bare simmer. Stir occasionally.  An important thing to making this is to not re-incorporate the foam that appears on the top of the mixture and on the sides of the pan. Continue to cook for 1 hour, then remove the vanilla bean and continue to cook until the mixture is a dark caramel color and has reduced to about 1 cup.  This will take approximately 2 hours. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to a month.  I just put it a canning jar.

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