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Dulce De Leche

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Death By Dulce

We here at the Blue Cleaver adore the Foods of the World books that Time-Life published back in the 1960s. Jam-packed with classic recipes, technicolor photos, and anthropological observations rendered in snappy prose, they're well worth a visit to Ebay or Bonnie Slotnick.

Upon returning from a guacamole-laden trip to the Southwest, we were inspired to revisit FOW's Latin American Cooking. Therein we unearthed a gem: a ridiculously easy way to make the classic Central and South American dessert, dulce de leche.

Dulce de leche is just milk that has been sweetened, spiced, and boiled down to a light carmel pudding. It can be eaten solo, but since it's very rich, it is more often used as a spread, an icing, or a filling for pastry or cakes. The ingredients are simple, but making dulce traditionally entails hovering over a hot stove, constantly stirring and adjusting the heat to avoid burning the milk.

Dulce De Leche In A Can: Sweetened Condensed Milk

Who needs all that? Just get yourself a can of sweetened condensed milk . . .

Dulce De Leche In A Can: Cover Can With Water

Put it in a pot with enough water to cover it completely.

Get that water to boil, and then simmer for three hours. It's just that simple, people. All you have to do is make sure that the water doesn't boil out, occasionally adding more as needed. When three hours have elapsed, take the can out with a set of tongs.

Dulce De Leche In A Can: Hot Can

It'll be hot as all get out, so be careful. At this point, if you have a carbon monoxide detector in your apartment, you will want to turn it off and open a window nearby. Trust us for now, we'll explain later.

Dulce De Leche In A Can: Contents Under Pressure

After the can has cooled a little bit, begin to open it up. Do this carefully, because the contents are going to spray out of the first opening you create. Witness the wrath of the dulce.

Dulce De Leche In A Can

The reason that the contents spray is simple. You've just spent a goodly amount of time burning the sugar in that milk, and the byproduct of that process -- carbon monoxide -- has been trapped in the can under pressure. When you open that puppy up, that gas will get out. Don't fret: it's no danger to you, all whimsical titles aside. It is, however, enough to trigger a sensitive carbon monoxide detector like ours. Unless you like loud buzzing, the alarm is no fun.

Dulce De Leche In A Can

What is fun is piling all that lovely dulce into a bowl. Stir it up a bit to smooth any lumps out and take a taste. You might like it plain, but you might like to add some flavoring. Vanilla and cinnamon are the most popular choices, but hot chili powder can be interesting in some applications.

After about fifteen minutes you can feel free to turn your carbon monoxide detector back on and close that open window. When cooled, just refrigerate the dulce until you're ready to use it, at which point you'll probably want to bring it back to room temperature. Who knew that dessert in a can could be so sweet?


Dulce de Leche Wikipedia Entry

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