Sunday, 27 February 2011

Dulce de leche in a can

Deary me, I seem to be creating a second post today instead of doing that passé composé revision. Zut. But I know my myriad readers will be clamouring for my promised pearls of wisdom on the controversial subject of how to make dulce de leche, so I find myself thus obligated. Here we go, mes enfants.

My usual googling before embarking on any enterprise reveals a lot of fearfulness out there on the matter of exploding cans of condensed milk. Verily I say unto thee, if ever a can were to explode, it would happen to moi. I attract disaster like my black clothes do cat hair. Yet I have never had an issue in this area. Not saying it can’t happen, and that the mess and possible injury wouldn’t be a true bummer, but it seems unlikely given due care. Apparently there’s a method involving baking a shallow dish in the oven for many hours, but that sounds like a sticky mess to me. Live on the edge!

Take the desired number of cans of condensed milk, full fat or nothing. If you need to go to the supermarket for it, why not grab a few at once ­– it’s as easy and resource-efficient to do several cans as one, and the unopened cans keep until you next need dulce de leche. Just another advantage of the can approach.

Also worth noting is that I have found no difference between Nestlé and Home Brand apart from a sixty-cent saving better in one’s own pocket than that of a multinational who likes to rip off dairy farmers and suchlike. Bah.

Rip off the labels and place cans in a suitably sized deep saucepan or, better yet, a pressure cooker.

For a saucepan, cover with water and a lid, then boil for four hours, topping up the water level with more hot water from the kettle if necessary. Legend has it that insufficient coverage is the culprit when it comes to explosions. Don't know the effect of pouring cold tap water onto hot cans, but it just sounds unwise somehow.

For a pressure cooker, bring the water level most of the way up the sides of the cans, allow to hiss away at low pressure for fifty minutes, and you’re done. I did four cans at once, a washcloth beneath them to avoid some of the rattling. Four fitted nicely and neatly in the pressure cooker, with little room left around them, yet surprisingly a couple managed to be on their sides at the end of it all. I took no photos of the process, as I didn’t have a blog this time yesterday. How things have changed...

For the curious, open up a can once cooled enough to handle, and you will find a deep golden delightfulness. If you’re not employing the dulce de leche straight away, scrape into a glass jar (do try not to cut your scraping finger on the edge of the can, for of course that’s what you’ll be using, non?) and stick in the fridge for safekeeping.

Spread all over your morning croissant, or, for that matter, your soft white TipTop.

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