Recipe: Argentine dulce de leche
In this week's review of Caminito Tango, I found myself nostalgic for the culinary canon I ate for months in Buenos Aires, where I feasted frequently on platters of grilled meat, empanadas, plates of Argentine-Italian pastas, pizza, gelato-like ice cream and, possibly best of all, dulce de leche.
The thick, slightly tart caramel was ubiquitous there, but it was hard to come by here, and I spent a lot of time hunting the treat down, usually swallowing hefty prices at specialty food shops only to find that what came in the jar just wasn't the same as the stuff my roommates used to store in little plastic tubs in the fridge. I quickly realized, though, that my favorite dessert treat was one I could easily replicate, since it's just reduced condensed milk.
Still, I struggled for a few months, trying to get the temperature and consistency exactly right. And then I learned an awesome trick from a former resident of South America. It comes out perfect every time.
As many unopened cans of sweetened condensed milk as you'd like. I like Eagle Brand. Do not buy low-fat or non-fat.
1. Remove labels from unopened cans.
2. Place the cans in a stock pot full of water.
3. Bring water to a boil.
4. Reduce water to a low boil.
5. Cook for three hours.
6. Let the water cool completely.
7. Remove the cans.
When you open the lids, you'll have dulce de leche. And better yet, you can store them on the shelf just like that. Or open it and drizzle it on fruit, sandwich it between a couple of sugar cookies, roll it in a crepe or, just eat it with whatever utensil is closest. Whatever works.
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