This irresistibly rich and luscious Homemade Dulce De Leche goes well with many things. It is also so good just straight from the jar!
Hello, my friends. Let’s don’t pretend. I do love dulce de leche. You know that. I know that. That’s probably my second favourite sweet thing after ice cream. In fact, I can (probably) easily live without any other sweets except ice cream and dulce de leche.
I am also not embarrassed to admit that I’m that person who doesn’t need a vessel to enjoy good dulce de leche. Of course, some dulce de leche on a toast or over pancakes is a good addition, but why spoil a good thing (Obviously, dulce de leche) with something else? Yes, I am that person who always gets two jars of dulce de leche when a recipe requires one. Does anyone need an explanation of why? I am also that person who sometimes buys a jar of dulce de leche just for any case. This “any case” could happen as soon as I get home.
Certainly, you can buy a jar of dulce de leche at probably most grocery stores. Personally, I think dulce de leche produced in Argentina is the best (They know how to make the fabulous spread in South America). But why not make your own dulce de leche if you have between 2 and 4 hours? Trust me you won’t regret.
Before we discuss the process, let me clarify. Caramel and dulce de leche are not the same. Dulce de leche is the combination of milk and sugar (Hello, sweetened condensed milk! You can also combine fat milk and sugar and make dulce de leche in a pot, but that’s
Turning a can of sweetened condensed milk into scrumptious caramel spread is super easy; however, it requires following some important rules.
You have probably heard that a can of condensed milk could explode. Unfortunately, this is true. On the other hand, it will not happen if you control the process. Yes, this happened to me once. But in my excuse, I was 10 or so years old, and I might have felt asleep while watching a fascinating movie. Besides, my mom had been planning to paint the walls and silings in the kitchen anyway. I just helped her with the final decision. Being an honest person, I was also silly to share that story with Andrey who banned me from making dulce de leche at home for a while (That was an appropriate thing to do. You cannot punish a good person for an event happened many years ago, right?)
To start, you will need an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk. Grab the best quality you can find or your trusted brand (Have you ever had condensed milk with had a slightly strange starchy consistency? I believe that might be caused by using low quality dried milk powder. And while this might be fine with other things, you should avoid this quality for this recipe.)
Next, you need a pan, preferably very large.
The most important rule is to control the water level. The water level must constantly be at least 2-4 cm above the cans, and I normally keep it up to 10 cm. If water evaporates too much, well you might need to refresh your kitchen.
Also, although I’ve read that it’s fine to add cold water into boiling water, I always add either very warm or hot. I don’t know if there’s any scientific reason, but I think it’s better to avoid a drastic temperature contrast. Besides, adding hot water doesn’t slow down the cooking process as much as cold water will. That’s also the reason I allow the can to almost fully cool down in the water. Most recipes suggest that you can take out the cans right away, with the help of tongs, but I prefer to let the cans stay in the pot until easy to handle with your hands. Bonus: some extra caramelization while cooling down in the pot. And of course, don’t attempt opening a hot can as the pressure is high.
The great thing about Homemade Dulce De Leche is that you determine the desired consistency. Do you want a slightly thin and pale in colour spread which is perfect for pouring over pancakes? Cook for about two hours. Looking for a thick spread which can be spooned out? Three to four hours is your time. I honestly almost never cook milk for four hours, but you will get a fantastic deep-amber colour and the consistency like very soft caramels. A knife might be handy! The dulce de leche in these photos needed about 3 hours (As I was going to use it in a cake), but most often I cook it for 3.5 hours. By the way, a spoiler alert: in a week I’ll post another tasty cake from Russian cuisine with dulce de leche. Are you excited?
And before I let you go, there’s one optional but important suggestion: always make at least two (or better three) cans of Homemade Dulce De Leche. You will not notice how fast it disappears (I bet this is the
Cookie Dulce de Leche Monster.) You can trust my words.
- One – few cans of sweetened condensed milk (The best quality you can find), label removed
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.
- Gently submerge the can(s) into the water using a slotted spoon. IMPORTANT: The water must always be at least 2-4 cm above the cans but I keep it as much as possible (up to 10 cm)
- Make sure the can(s) on its side so it can roll around in the water – this is important for safety issues (It diminishes water pressure)
- Simmer between 2 to 4 hours. You’ll have a runnier texture perfect for drizzling or baking after 2hours. Three hours gives you a firmer custard-like texture for spreading or eating on its own. Four hours provides a consistency similar to very soft caramels.
- Regularly check on the pot adding water as it evaporates. IMPORTANT: If the water evaporates too much, the can(s) could explode.
- After the allotted time, off the heat. Now you have two options. You can gently and carefully remove the hot can(s) from the water using tongs or you can let them cool down in the water, until easy to handle with hands, 30-45 minutes.
- IMPORTANT: Don’t open the can while it’shot – let it completely cool.
- Open and enjoy!