That I am greedy, you might have already noticed. If you peeked a bit into my presentation on the blog and some posts, you also know that part of my family lives in South America, in between Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil, where eating well and a lot is an essential element of daily life, as essential is the dulce de leche.
This cream is made with cow’s milk, sugar, vanilla, and a bit of baking soda to neutralize lactic acid. I always have some at home, and I eat it more or less every day… you know, I don’t want to lose weight suddenly 😛
According to some documents from the archives of the XVII, the dulce de leche was born in Chile and imported to Argentina by some missionaries; according to some other documents preserved in the Museo Histórico Nacional, instead, the recipe was the result of a cooking mistake. It appears that the chef of a famous politician forgot the sweetened milk on the stove and when she returned to extinguish the flame found this delicious brown cream. A story dramaturgically less intense than that of Vatel and its Chantilly cream confirms that errors in the kitchen can be valuable.
Actually, anecdotes like these can be found in the documents of all the countries of South America as this cream is widespread, although in Argentina and Uruguay is the basis of almost every dessert… when in 2003 the Argentine government declared the dulce de leche “Argentine cultural heritage” together with empanadas and asado, the Uruguayan government opposed asking UNESCO to declare it a cultural heritage of the whole Rio de la Plata area and this option would also satisfy my family 😉
You can try it as a simple cream spread on toast, but you will find it filling for cakes and cookies. The homemade ice cream made with dulce de leche is truly very good, and the alfajores are so yummy that I will give you the recipe soon. Oh, I also eat a shameful amount of it spoon by spoon…
I have tasted many variations of the dulce de leche, such as the Peruvian manjarblanco or the French crème de lait, but I was not satisfied. You can also buy it at the supermarket, but I recommend the Conaprole in Uruguay or Havana if you are in Argentina. The other brands that I tasted are a lighter grainy version, and the color is not the same.
The dulce de leche recipe
If you are not planning a trip to these areas, you can always try to cook it. The procedure lasts about an hour, but it’s elementary.
The ingredients for half a kilo of dulce de leche
- a liter of whole milk
- 250 grams of sugar
- a tablespoon of vanilla essence
- half a teaspoon of baking soda
The preparation of the dulce de leche
Boil the milk in a saucepan large enough, add sugar, and start stirring. When it begins to thicken slightly, add the remaining ingredients and keep stirring. The dulce de leche is ready when it gets a caramel color, and its texture is that of Nutella.
In the summertime, I recommend you try the ice cream version! Add half a liter of milk and a quarter of fresh cream. It is even better than the Häagen-Dazs one 🙂