I think I am finally over my bad baking curve! Yesterday, I finally had a major victory! I made yummy, spreadable, caramelly dulce de leche!!
There is a long painful history behind my pursuit of this deliciously lusciously sweet treat. It is a struggle that has been ongoing since December, when I first moved here. I did research on the preparation of Dulce de leche, and the online community debates these three points:
- Boil a can of condensed milk for 1-2 hours
- Bake the condensed milk in a water bath
- Making it from scratch: using fresh milk, sugar, vanilla, and baking soda
Originally I started out with boiling the can of condensed milk on the stove top, but this experiment went totally a rye when I forgot to wash the can. I had poked 2 holes on the top of the can, and kept trying out my dessert as it was cooking from the top of the can… ended up with food poisoning! Also, I hated the idea that I was using a tin can to cook a lusciously luxurious dessert. At any rate, I proceeded to try boiling another can it in a water-bath in the oven… didn’t cook through – when I opened the can, the milk was still runny! I put it back in the oven, and ended up scorching it. That’s when I decided, fine, ditch the aluminum can thing and move to the next method.
In googling the topic, I found that David Lebovitz had a recipe for dulce de leche. He is one of my favorite chefs, and even moreso, because he writes accurate and understandable recipes. I learned how to make terribly delicious ice-cream from his “The Perfect Scoop“. So I thought: “If I can learn to make ice-cream, surely I can make dulce de leche!” And the rest is history!
- 400gr (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 425° F (220° C).
- Pour sweetened condensed milk into a glass baking dish. Stir in a few flecks of sea salt.
- Set the making dish within a larger pan, such as a roasting pan, and add hot water until it reaches halfway up the side of the baking dish.
- Cover the baking dish snugly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 to 1¼ hours. (Check a few times during baking and add more water to the roasting pan as necessary).
- Once its is nicely browned and caramelized, remove from the oven and let cool. Once cool, whisk until smooth and store in open mouthed jar.
I want to share with you a little something that I learned to love and grow dependent on, when I visited your home country: “The beautiful country of Colombia.” The coffee shop chain, Juan Valdez, makes an amazing cafe con leche y arequipe (is the local name for dulce de leche), which I had everyday of my stay. Now I can make it at home everyday!!!
How has your week been? Mine has been great aside from the down pouring rain we had yesterday ALL day! I also spent way to many hours at the dentist yesterday so when I got home, I decided that it was time for me to make the Feta-Filled Arepas we had been talking about for a while now. They are like comfort food you know? Very easy to make. We tried them last night and they were absolutely delicious especially because you are pretty much making an Arepa sandwich. I had never tried of making Arepas any differently than how my mom makes them and adding baking soda and oil to the dough made a huge difference in their texture and taste.
For our readers, Arepas are a bread, I like to call them a corn pita, originating from South America. You can read more about Arepas here:
I got this recipe from the January 2010 edition of Food & Wine, my aunt gets that magazine and last time I was at her house I brought 2 back with me and took out all the interesting recipes that I plan on trying out for our blog. This recipe was created by Peter Berley and published in his most recent cook book Fresh Food Fast (http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/feta-filled-arepas).
4 cups of masa harina (flour made from corn*)
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups of crumbled feta cheese
- In a large bowl, mix the masa harina with the baking powder, 1/2 cup of vegetable oil and 3 cups of cool water. Knead the dough several times, then wrap it in plastic and let stand for 15 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 16 pieces and flatten each into a 3-inch disk. Sprinkle the feta cheese over 8 of the disks. Top with the remaining disks and press the edges to seal. Gently press the arepas into even patties.
- Heat 1/4 inch of oil in 2 large skillets. Add the arepas and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden, 6 to 7 minutes. Drain on paper towels, then serve.
Mati, I hope you can find masa harina or have the Mr.’s parents send you some…. Have a wonderful day!
* For our readers, you can google masa harina and even buy it online or maybe at one of your local super markets in areas with a lot of Latin Americans. The Goya brand carries masa harina also known as Corn Flour.