Friday, February 4, 2011

RECIPE - Doce de Leite

Whether you call it dulce de leche in Spanish, or prefer to use the Brazilian Portuguese doce de leite, this decadently rich and delicious treat is not that difficult to make at home. It does require patience, and an arm that's strong enough to keep stirring for quite a while, but the result is infinitely better than most store-bought versions, and will keep for a very long time in the fridge. (In fact, the dish was most likely invented as a technique to preserve fresh milk in hot tropical climates - sugar is a powerful agent of preservation.)

The ingredient list is short and sweet (sorry about the pun!). Total time required is about an hour and a half, plus time for the cooked doce de leite to cool down. If you wish to flavor your doce de leite you can do so during the final five minutes or so of cooking time by adding things such as grated coconut, powdered cinnamon, or cocoa powder to taste. Once cooled, the doce de leite can be used in a number of ways - it can be served as is, or used in an ingredient in the creation of another dish.

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RECIPE - Doce de Leite
10 portions

2 quarts (2 liters) whole milk
4 cups (750 gr) granulated white sugar.
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Combine the milk and sugar in a large heavy-bottomed pan (enameled cast-iron is best, but any heavy pan will do. Avoid pans that are thin, as the bottom of the doce de leite can easily burn). Stir with a wooden or silicone spoon until the sugar dissolves completely.

Place the pan over medium heat and bring slowly to a boil, stirring constantly with the spoon (approximately 15 minutes).

Reduce the heat, and continue to cook, stirring contantly, until the mixture is reduced to about 1/6 of its original quantity and developed a rich brown color and a shiny, creamy consistency. (approximately 45 minute to 1 hour). ** If you wish you can continue to cook for another 15 minutes or so, letting the mixture continue to thicken. When cooled, this doce de leite will have the consistency of fudge, and can be cut into pieces.

When the mixture has reached the desired consistency and color, pour into a glass casserole or lasagne dish and let cool completely. 

Cooled doce de leite can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Translated and adapted from website Tudo Gostoso.

6 comments:

  1. When I lived in Brasil I saw many people make this by pressure cooking an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk. It has to be done very carefully and cooled slowly. NEVER open the can while it is even a little bit hot. The result is a creamy, medium brown dessert that is often eaten with cremosa.

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  2. Thanks for the comment. I've heard as well that it can be made this way, but considering the potential for damage, I certainly would never attempt it. The Brazilians I've talked to about pressure cookers are sometimes cavalier about the inherent dangers of these devices , so I take their "No problem, nothing can happen" with a grain of salt.
    JAMES

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  3. this doesnt work i did it exactly as you said and this isnt working at all its still milky -__- now all i have is a sore arm and a sore back from standing soo much without any support for my back

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    1. I'm sorry to hear it didn't work for you, and sorry to hear about your sore arms. You mention it was still milky - did it reduce to 1/6 its original volume? Were you using whole milk that hadn't been UHT treated?
      JAMES

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  4. Last year, I made a similar version of it following this blogger's recipe:

    http://beekman1802.com/habanera-cajeta-and-graham-cracker-ice-cream/

    I don't know why the writer of the previous comment had problems, either. It was thick and creamy and SO so good. My only problem was that I forgot that level of the spice would continue to intensify as the milk condensed, long long after removing the pepper!!

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  5. Couldn't resist to comment...
    I'm Brazilian, and, yes, I've used both the recipes to make doce de leite.

    The one on the post is the "old school" technique, wich can take several hours to cook. My grandmother used to "punish" us by making us stir the milk for times that seemed like forever... It can not be rushed, but it does have a better result the the "easy way" of the pressure cooker.

    As the "nothing can happen", it is quite safe to pressure cook the condensed milk can, we do it quite often. Of course, you have to take all the precautions you would normally in using a pressure cooker, and since you will be heating a closed container, you must wait for the can to cool down. There is no puzzle in it, cook with the pressure cooker half full of water for about 30 minutes and wait for it to cool.

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