What is dulce de leche, you ask? There was a time in my life when I too knew not the meaning of the words. Darker and sadder times. Dulce de leche, dear reader, is tinned caramel. And it is, quite simply, wonderful. Lick-it-right-off-a-spoon-delicious.
One of the big problems with baking in Dhaka is the lack of good quality ingredients. I have to process my own flour and sugar (to read how, scroll to the end of this post), searched in vain for hazelnuts and pecans (if anyone knows where I can find any, please share!) and the icing sugar here seems to leave a strange clingy aftertaste to the roof of my mouth. Sadness.
One thing, however, which is readily available here in Dhaka – is sweetened condensed milk. And sweetened condensed milk is the one, single ingredient that you need to make your own dulce de leche. YES. That’s all. I’ll give you a moment to blink in disbelief at your screen.
Read on. Make it. Lick it off a spoon.
Homemade Dulce de Leche
1 can of sweetened condensed milk – you need a can that you would open with a can-opener and not one with a ring pull.
1. Peel off the outer packaging/labels of the can until it is naked. Don’t do anything else to the can, you leave it unopened.
2. Place the can in a large saucepan. Cover with water.
3. Boil for 3 hours. Be sure to top up the water every now and then to ensure that the can is fully covered with water at ALL TIMES*.
4. After 3 hours, take out the can and leave it to cool.
5. Open the can. Gasp in amazement.
*If the can is not covered, there is a risk it will explode. Please repress that thrill-seeker in you, and make sure that you keep topping up the water. Make dulce de leche responsibly.
My favourite things to do with dulce de leche (aside from licking it straight off a spoon): Use it to fill and top cupcakes, as a brownie topping or swirl globs of it into your brownie batter before baking, to sandwich together biscuits and whoopie pies, eat it still warm with sticky toffee pudding. The possibilities are infinite!