You see Dulce de Leche everywhere now from ice creams to other desserts. Even a limited edition Dulce de Leche Pop Tart. You know you’ve made it when you’re immortalized in a Pop Tart! LOL!
But for Latins, Dulce de Leche has been around forever. My mom and grandma used to make it all the time for us as kids.
What exactly is Dulce de Leche? Literally translated it means “milk candy” and it is basically a caramel kind of spread made by heating sweetened milk until it changes color and flavor. Technically, that process is known as a Maillard reaction, but forget that! All you need to know is that it’s really tasty.
Also, just to confuse things, Cubans have another dessert called dulce de leche which is made with curdled milk that is then sweetened, but that’s not what we’re going to make today.
Actually, for those who are kitchen-challenged, Dulce de Leche is much easier to find today in the ethnic food section. La Lechera has an assortment of Dulce de Leche products, including one in a squeeze bottle for drizzling onto desserts or straight into your mouth.
How do you make it? Well, it’s both simple and DANGEROUS. I have to repeat DANGEROUS, but that hasn’t stopped Latinos from making it this way for a very long time.
It all starts with . . . Can you guess? It’s that go to in Latin kitchens: Sweetened Condensed Milk.
Why a go to? Well, we weren’t well off and when you needed something sweet, a spoonful of dulce de leche or a cup filled with crumbled soda crackers and topped with condensed milk did the trick.
Plus, it’s a basic ingredient in flan, tres leches, bread pudding, you name it.
But back to making Dulce de Leche and the DANGER of it. The easiest, but DANGEROUS way is to full a large pot with water and drop in an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk.
Bring to boil and boil for about two to three hours. NEVER LET THE POT RUN DRY. If you do, the pressure will build inside the unopened can and it will EXPLODE.
Just ask my poor sister-in-law who ended up cleaning dulce de leche from her ceiling.
So that’s it. Drop and boil and then chill in the fridge. For a thicker darker dulce de leche, boil the can even longer. It will be as thick and dark as peanut butter, but oh so tasty!
Let me know if you try it and if you do, how you like it!