Dulce de leche, which means milk jam in Spanish, is a sweet, caramelly concoction made from boiling and concentrating condensed milk. Nothing is added to the milk, but the cooking process imbues it with a rich sweetness well suited to cakes and confectionary.
My first attempt at this recipe was a complete disaster, and I’d been a little gunshy ever since. Then my friend Ozoz, the Kitchen Butterfly, posted her recipe for making dulce de leche in the microwave. Since I had three cans of condensed milk in the pantry, I thought it was worth a second attempt.
I emptied two cans of condensed milk (one skim, one full fat) into a large pyrex bowl.
This went into my 1100 watt microwave for :
- 6 minutes at 50% power, whisking every two minutes, then
- 14 minutes at 30% power, whisking every one to two minutes, or whenever the milk threatened to boil over.
Be prepared to stand by the microwave and watch this – it’s not a set and leave dish, as it can boil over in a heartbeat!
The finished dulce de leche came out of the microwave lumpy, but whisked into a smooth and silky caramel, which we spooned into sterilised glass jars and stored in the fridge.
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The following day, I made dulce de leche truffles, dropping spoonfuls of the cold caramel into tempered chocolate. These were pleasant, but the balance of flavours wasn’t quite right.
. . . . .
I also made dulce de leche scrolls, which were absolutely delicious – Big Boy loved these! I followed the methodology for nutella scrolls, using the sweet dough from the Pain Viennois recipe. The dulce de leche worked particularly well with the sweet milk dough. Prior to baking, I brushed the tops of the risen buns with eggwash and scattered over a little demerara sugar for added crunch.
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Since the oven was on all morning, I decided to try David Lebovitz’ recipe for dulce de leche with my last remaining tin of condensed milk. This entailed pouring the milk into an ovenproof dish and covering it with foil, then baking it in a water bath for an hour or so at 220C. The milk set in the oven like a soft baked custard, but was easily transformed into creamy dulce de leche with a little whisking.
What a fantastic ingredient! Maybe I need to try a Chilean Torta De Hojas next…
Edit 26/2: I was inspired by the comments below to try making dulce de leche from scratch. Have a look here – seriously chuffed with the results!