When in Argentina…well, eat lots of dulce de leche! Argentina might be know best around the world for it’s meat and wine but to me nothing screams out eat me like their delectable dulce de leche. If you have never had proper dulce de leche you really must, it is unlike any other caramel in the world.
Walking down the street in Corrientes, Argentina it is impossible not to notice how popular this desert is. Dulce de leche sandwhiched between light cakelike cookies called alfajores peer at you from every kiosko, artists create songs cooing the qualities dulce de leche and love, every supermarket has at least 4 different brands to offer from the most liquid to the thick almost peanut-buttery dulce de leche repostero, dulce de leche in Argentina is everywhere.
I remember in the early days of my romance with my soon-to-be-husband his pinings for true dulce de leche durning his foreign-study-exile in Washington. To help, I purchased a quart of dulce de leche icecream a la Haagen-Dazs: my intensions were good. His eyes were wide with excitement, ready for the taste of home- but this was not even close, this was not his dulce de leche.
Dulce de leche found in the USA is almost always imported from Argentina, and that means two things: expensive and made to suite the North American market. But there is no good reason not to make dulce de leche at your own home, it is cheap, easy and painless and incomparable to anything else.
The first time I made dulce de leche I was terrified. How on earth would cooking milk and sugar for ages turn into something so creamy and smooth, so buttery sweet! My fear lead to two mistakes: one, I didn’t want to burn it so I cooked the mix for nearly 4 hours on a almost nonexistent flame leaving me insanely bored and sore in the arm, and two I left off cooking it much too soon. Your dulce de leche will actually thicken in the pan, I promise, just give it time and lay on the heat!
Dulce de Leche
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 vanilla pod, split (or 1 heaping teaspoon vanilla powder)
Because dulce de leche has a high sugar contant you can store it in the fridge for quite a long time. It is wonderful on apples, ice cream, toast, in cakes or brownies and swedish pancakes.