Sunday, August 26, 2012

Dulce de Leche

title
Whew.  What a week and then some.  As I sit here in my ‘office’, catching a much needed breath, just for 2 seconds, before I go off again, I literally force myself to, as Max so succinctly put it, ‘be still!’.

Be still --- how hard can that be?

Harder than it looks.

With the world, and life, moving so much faster than ever before, filled with so much more (more things to do, see, say, buy, experience, start, finish, eat), it’s become that much more difficult to simply stop and, consciously and wholeheartedly, be still.  But, for the very same reasons, it is that much more important to do it.

So here I am, for just 2 seconds, breathing in and out, listening to the silence that is my city’s sigh on the weekends, savoring a warm latte, writing in this blog.  Scribbling away at the few words I have the time for while my dulce de leche simmers to life on the hob.

Making this is too simple to even venture towards a recipe.  Take a couple of cans of condensed milk**, place them in a sturdy pot that is a good deal taller than your cans.  Fill the pot with enough water to completely submerge the cans by a good 2-3 inches (or more, if the thought of exploding cans makes you nervous).  Place the pot, covered, over low heat for 3 hours, making sure that the water level stays above the tops of the cans at all times.  I place a kettle of hot water beside my pot in case I need to make a top up. When the 3 hours are up, turn off the heat but leave the covered pot, and the submerged cans within, undisturbed until the water has completely cooled down.  Once cool, take your cans, dry them off, and enjoy the uncomplicated divinity called dulce de leche.

There are other ways to make dulce de leche but this is the way my great-grandmother (and my grandmother, and my father) made it, so this is the way I make it too.  There is something so special, so comforting and calming, about performing a task that has been likewise performed by your forebears.  It makes me feel connected, part of a greater whole.  It makes me feel, despite the transient nature of so many things nowadays, that there is goodness that endures.  And, despite the worries that come with being an adult, when I place a spoon of that smooth sweetness in my mouth, I am transported to a soft though roughly-upholstered chair, a ratty box of favored toys in front of me, with my great-grandmother lying on her sofa watching tv.  Companionable silence, no thought but to what was in front of us, content.

In these precious few moments of ‘being still’, stolen from a perpetually and oft-too-fast spinning wheel of life, I like to think of that.

I wish you've all had, or are having, a wonderful weekend…and a couple of quiet moments to ‘be still’! :)

**It must be shared that I used both Milkmaid and Carnation condensed milks, and the can of Carnation was still liquid while the Milkmaid was perfect (and it's what you see pictured here).  Milkmaid is what my father and grandmother use, and what my father strictly counseled me to use.  Apparently with good reason.

40 comments:

Ella Torrico said...

I would love to try this one and use it as a palaman to a hot pandesal! Yum!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A real treat! That spread is soooo luscious looking.

Cheers,

Rosa

Margaux Salcedo said...

I love your writing. :) Always have. Still do.

gwacie said...

My mother cooks 4 cans at a time in a huge pot. She also uses Milkmaid (and no other brand) for dulce de leche.

Angelika said...

Hi ChichaJo, I would like to have a little chatty moment with you over coffee!... Hope everything is fine with you and yours.... Kind regards from Vienna and happy to know that your blog is still alive! Hugs, Angelika

Kaylovesvintage said...

love you blog...now I want live in my kitchen

Katrina said...

I'm with Margaux. Your writing is always such a pleasure to read! :-) As for the brand choice of condensed milk, do you remember MM's post years ago on the brand choice of milk for leche flan? Milkmaid and Alpine are really better than Carnation, because Carnation is filled milk, not full cream like Milkmaid and Alpine are. Big diff. :-)

Anonymous said...

am so glad I found your blog. really enjoyed reading it, such brilliant writings. :-) thank u as well for sharing your recipes. keep up! cheers!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Ella! Go for it! And yes, hot pan de sal and this would be divine!

Hi Rosa! Thanks!

Hi Margaux! You sure know how to make a girl's day!! Super flattered...thank you so much :)

Hi Gwacie! Next time I will definitely make a bigger batch...and all Milkmaid :) My dad was also very insistent about it! Sigh...never too old to listen to our parents! ;)

Hi Angelika!! So wonderful to see you here and to hear from you! I would absolutely love to have a chatty moment with you over coffee *and* cake! Maybe one day right? :) Big hugs!!!

Hi Kay! Thank you for your kind words! :)

Hi Katrina! To have not one but two writers say that is making me go all warm and fuzzy!! Thank you! Yes, now I remember -- that is what my dad says as well, because Milkmaid uses real milk :) He knows his dairy!

Hi Anonymous person! Thank you for visiting and glad to hear you enjoyed :)

Midge said...

Milkmaid is definitely the condensada of choice for making dulce de leche. Aside from the fact that it cooks beautifully, the flavors are just amazing. :) (Oh, and thanks so much for your comment on my blog; it really meant a lot.)

katiez said...

I've always wanted to try this.... But we don't have sweetened condensed milk here..... It looks wonderful!

Jen Laceda | Tartine and Apron Strings said...

Are you serious? This is how you make dulce de leche? That's it? I thought it was a more complicated process, but apparently it's not. I'm gonna have to try your recipe, and hopefully - cross my fingers - I don't F it up!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Midge! Just had a spoonful and yes, the flavor is truly amazing :) Hope you are feeling better!

Hi Katiez! Wish I could send you some...sweetened condensed milk is actually quite popular around these parts :)

Hi Jen! There are other ways to make it but this is how my family has made it since the time of my great-grandmother :) It's that easy!

Anne said...

A canful of yumminess!

I just made dulce de leche just the other day. Still trying to find the time to use it in my bakes :)

dontaskmetosmile said...

My friend who now lives in Cost Rica just sent me ready-made Dulce De Leche. You've reminded me that I need to use them for something. It's wrong to have it sit in the pantry unused. I am also reminded to hunt this down while I'm here in the US and bring home some cans!

Faye Paras said...

ahhh memories of childhood! milkmaid is really the way to go, i agree. in grade school, i used to spread this over Hapi biscuits and layer about 4, top with raisins, let cool for an hour and tadah...heavenly!

Cecile said...

hi joey! yes, i've seen chef michael of "chef at home"do this in one of his episodes and he prepped more than one can ( he says you can keep this on the shelf for an indefinite period of time). makes it all worthwhile and saves on money on lpg or electricity. thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Hi! How long would this dulce de leche keep once opened?
how about if left in unopened cans?

ChichaJo said...

Hi Anne! Yes, I too am looking to find ways to incorporate this into my baking :)

Hi Kat! Lucky you to have such a generous friend :)

Hi Faye! Memories is right! This really brings me back :)

Hi Cecile! For sure! My family members would always make as large a batch as they could to justify the gas used :)

Hi Anonymous! I can't say for certain but unopened it should last for a while in your pantry. If opened I usually store it in the fridge...but it is usually all finished in a short time!

Russell at Chasing Delicious said...

Yum! How cool is this.

Anonymous said...

Hi ChichaJo,

Had a sudden craving for Dulce de Leche after reading your blog. Yummy! Since I only had 1 can of condensed milk, and didnt want to wait for 3 hours. I tried the David Lebovitz water bath method and it worked well. Took only 1 hr and 15 mins in the oven. Suggest you give it a go if you are in need of a quick pick me up. You can even roast your chicken/ pork at the same time to save energy and have both mains and dessert. BTW love all your recipes and watched your lovely clip on tv. Take care. Ma Barker.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Russell! Thanks for popping in! :)

Hi Ma Barker!! Thanks for the tip :) And thanks for leaving such a sweet comment! Hope to see you soon! Take care!!

kellypea said...

You've brought back so many of my own memories of busy, I think I heaved a sigh on your behalf sitting here and imagining your few moments of quiet.
I've made dulce de leche like this and you are so right -- divinity in a can.

Hello Balloon said...


I love how you referred to it as Uncomplicated Divinity... That's exactly what dulce de leche is!

Now you got me craving... And yes, I agree... Milk Maid all the way! Great post, Joey! Warmest regards!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Kellypea! Sigh...don't we all need those moments? :)

Hi Arlu! Isn't it? You are just a spoon away from satisfaction :) Thanks and warmest regards to you as well!!

anartechoke said...

Hi ChichaJo! I've been reading through your blog for some time, thanks for your wonderful posts! I'm relatively newlywed, so I get a lot of [cooking]inspiration from your blog. Question: if i'm to make just one can of dulce de leche, do I need to wait all three hours? Thank you!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Anartechoke! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment :) Glad to know you are enjoying my blog! Yes, if you are using one can you still need to cook it for 3 hours, so I really recommend you do more than one. The unopened cans will keep fairly long in your cupboard...or you can give them as gifts :)

Junglefrog said...

We don't have either of those brands but a different one. I've got to confess that I'm one of those chickens afraid the can will explode but then I didn't know that keeping the can covered would prevent that happening. No more excuses left!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Simone! I am nervous about it myself! Just make sure that the cans are always completely under water and you should be good :)

kaoko said...

My Lola always insisted on Milkmaid, too, for all her condensed milk needs. I guess if it's good enough for our lolas, it should be good enough for us.

Looking forward to giving this a shot, too.

(But mebbe not at the same time as those spicy korean cucumbers :P)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Kaoko! We should definitely follow our lolas! They know best :)

BettyAnn @Mango_Queen said...

Oh gosh, how did I miss this divine Dulce de Leche recipe? I just love this. QUESTION : Can I make this in a slow cooker? Let me know. Would love to try doing it while I'm away from home and come back to as you say "such divinity". Thanks for sharing, Joey! Hugs & thanks for the blog-visits :-)

BettyAnn @Mango_Queen said...

Oh gosh, how did I miss this divine Dulce de Leche recipe? I just love this. QUESTION : Can I make this in a slow cooker? Let me know. Would love to try doing it while I'm away from home and come back to as you say "such divinity". Thanks for sharing, Joey! Hugs & thanks for the blog-visits :-)

ChichaJo said...

Hi BettyAnn! I'm not sure about slow cooker instruction because I don't have one and have never used one in my life! Maybe I should get one? :)

Mich said...

Have you tried dulce de leche on popcorn? One of our faves!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Mich! Have never tried that...sounds delicious!

Sweet Tooth said...

oh really? Milkmaid? I'll give that a try I always use Carnation and haven't got a perfect Dulce de Leche in the the can

Bom said...

Dulce de Leche! Yummy. Have you tried the Bacolod version, Dulce Gatas? I figure it is the same thing but the DG I've tried seems paler and your DDL looks much smoother.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Sweet Tooth! Yes! Try Milkmaid! You will have perfect dulce de leche in no time :) Well, in 3 hours' time ;)

Hi Bom! I think I have tasted the dulce gatas from Bacolod and, like you mention it is not as smooth as this one...that's not to say that one is better than the other, just different! :)

Anonymous said...

That looks delicious! i think that i am going to have to try that out right now.