Monday, December 19, 2011

Dulce De Leche

I moved to Argentina a little before turning one. We lived there for 5+ years before coming to the United States  My sister, brother, and I spoke Spanish. We all have Spanish names. We were all in the Spanish bilingual class. Although I am the youngest of my siblings, I can remember the most. Memories... unfortunately not the Spanish. Sometimes they think that I am making stuff up. I am not.

I remember getting stuck between the couch and the wall and really freaking out. I'm still afraid of getting stuck between the couch and the wall.

I remember taking some ground beef and putting it in a drawer and squishing it between my fingers (come on, it was Argentina). Heard my mom come. Closed the drawer. Forgot about it. Opened the drawer a few days later and saw little worms everywhere. Don't remember after that.  

I remember giving a girl a rock and telling her to take a bite out of it (of course I took a bite first and I can still remember the taste)... still feel guilty. Don't worry no one had cracked teeth.

I remember my friend telling me that you could crumple her plastic record and that it would still play on the record player. There was a lot of crying. Her mom had even given me banana pudding. That was a big mistake, still feel guilty about that one. 

I remember drinking a lot of mate (strong tea that you drink from a metal straw). We would put a heap of sugar on top before pouring in the water.

I remember going to another friend's house and having her grandmother give us bread and butter with sugar on top. I also drank some milk with sugar mixed in. My stomach hated me that afternoon.

I remember walking on a Sunday night to eat pizza in the city. My father had the onion pizza.

I remember hunting down the twin/siamese bananas at my parents fruit and vegetable store. I still look but have never found them here.

I remember that milk came in these plastic bags. 

I remember sneaking to eat these salted sardines that my mom kept under the kitchen sink. 

I remember going to get ice cream with my sister's friend's cousin. I think her name was Laura. She was tall and blonde. I still remember the taste of the ice cream: banana with dulce de leche.

Dulce de leche... mmm mmm mmm

Dulce de leche (a type of milk, caramel spread) never left my heart. I never thought that they would have it here. I did find, what I will call,  a fake dulce de leche in a can. Let me be blunt, "Not good." Thus, my quest began to search for an authentic dulce de leche recipe. I tried one recipe that had me stirring the milk for over 5 hours. Not fun but it turned out really good. Brought back a lot of childhood memories. I did not want to stir the milk for 5 hours again so I tried looking for a simpler recipe. Simpler recipe, find I did. And the taste was magnificent.

Some of you might have had the Americanized version in cakes, cookies, and pies. Please listen to me, you have to make it at home to get the real taste or I guess you could go to Argentina. The taste is smooth, creamy, and not too sweet. Yes, I said that it is not overly sweet. People, my mom even likes it, and she does not care for sweet creations. American caramel is sweet. Dulce de leche is not too sweet.

One of the best ways to have it is to spread it on freshly baked, french bread. Or between lemon, shortbread cookies, but that's another story...

Here is a link to a beautiful picture of dulce de leche.

Dulce de Leche
(adapted from David Lebovitz who adapted it from The Perfect Scoop)

1 can of condensed milk

-Preheat oven to 425º F.
-Pour the condensed milk into a glass baking pan.
-Place the glass baking pan inside of a larger pan.
-Fill the larger pan with hot water (halfway up the side of the glass baking pan).
-Cover the glass baking pan tightly with aluminum foil.
-Bake for 1 - 1 1/4 hours.
-Make sure to keep the larger pan filled with hot water.
-Check to see if the dulce de leche is brown and caramelized.
-Remove from oven and cool.
-Once cool, whisk smooth.
-Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator.
-Spread on warm, french bread.
-Eat within 2 weeks, if it lasts that long!

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