Sticky, sweet, rich, thick, creamy, unique. Dulce de leche is an indulgent confection originating from Argentina and popular throughout South America. Its Mexican version is called Cajeta, while in France it is referred to as confiture de lait. Dulce de leche is similar to caramel, yet to me seems incomparable. Using goat’s milk gives this sweet milk jam some tang. Smitten Kitchen’s homemade recipe gives you the option to play with flavours to add depth. Wanting to make dulce de leche in its most authentic form, I opted out of Smitten Kitchen’s suggestions (though they do sound good, will try them out another time). There are many ways to serve dulce de leche: as a topping drizzled onto some ice cream, as a filling in a crèpe, as part of a tres leches cake, licked straight off the spoon, or spread on a toasted baguette for a breakfast tartine. Set aside a few hours for this recipe and watch over the stove as the sweetened milk turns a beautiful shade of copper.
Recipe Source: Smitten Kitchen
Yields a little over 1 cup
1 to 2-inch segment of vanilla bean (optional)
1 quart whole milk (cow or goat, I used goat)
1 cup granulated sugar
2-inch segment of cinnamon stick (optional)
1/4 teaspoon coarse or flaky sea salt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 2 teaspoons water
1) Pour the milk and the sugar into a large saucepan.
2) If you are opting for Smitten Kitchen’s suggestions: Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out seeds. Add both the seeds and the empty vanilla pods to the saucepan, along with the cinnamon stick and salt.
3) Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
4) Remove the saucepan from the heat and slowly stir in the baking soda-water mixture. If you are using goat milk it will foam up due to the acidity. From here on, my saucepan stayed on the heat for 1h30min.
5) Return the saucepan to the stove and keep it at a brisk simmer; I had to readjust the heat. Check up on it regularly (every 15 minutes) to give it a stir to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom until the mixture turns a light brown, about 1 hour.
6) Stir the mixture more frequently (about every 5 minutes) as it begins to take on a caramel-brown color and thickens.
7) Then remain at the stove and stir the mixture continuously until it reaches a deeper copper color.
8) Pour the dulce de leche through a fine-mesh strainer and into a jar.
Store in the fridge for up to one month with an airtight lid. Rewarm as needed to soften the dulce de leche.