Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dulce de Leche

Translating to milk sweet in Spanish, Dulce de Leche is a caramel sauce made by slow cooking a can of sweetened condensed milk in water until the milk caramelizes. Cooked down further and it becomes caramel candy. Pretty cool, right?

There are 3 common methods;

1) Punch holes in the top of the can to let pressure escape (a teacher told of a time, as a boy, on a camping trip, in charge of heating up the beans, he put the sealed can over the fire until it exploded sending hot beans through the air trailing streamers of steam). Fill a pan with water so it comes 3/4 the way up the side of the can and cook over low heat until the milk is thick and golden and caramelly, 2 - 3 hours.

The traditional "safety" method

2) Don't punch holes in the top (see bean story in previous paragraph). Submerge can in a lot of water and cook slowly for 2 - 3 hours. Again see bean story above.

3) Pour evaporated milk into a large microwave safe bowl and cook for two minutes at a time, whisking until smooth after each 2 minute cooking period, until it reaches the desired consistency (see Cooking For Engineers post here)

On my first try, I lost patience with method 1 when after 3 hours it still looked about as above, white and not caramelly (evidently my heat was too low). I switched to the microwave method and finished it off.

The transformation is amazing. It is caramel; a great dip for apples or a topping for ice cream or use in a pie or cake. I definitely recommend the microwave method.



  1. I can't believe this whole time a microwave and a can of milk have been the only obstacles standing in the way of a stomach full of dulce de leche.

  2. The idea of a stomach full of Dulce de Leche inspires me to develop a dessert haggis.