Playing Around With Cajeta – with a tour of my favorite blogs

cajeta

It is not like I didn’t know about dulce de leche. I have been making it myself for a long time now, according to the David Lebovitz method. But then Pim snickered about it, calling him names and declaring only real milk is acceptable and no sweetened condensed milk. That got me thinking. Then I moved to Rome and condensed milk turned to be something of an expensive rarity. I started really considering making dulce de leche from scratch. I just had, well, some tummy-ache about it, as me and milk, we don’t get along that well.

Then dear Nicky went ahead and wrote about cajeta ice cream. Can you believe she didn’t warn me beforehand? To think I call this woman a friend, and not just a virtual one… Well, after I got over with my shock, I walked to the small but nice supermarket (in the rain! can you believe it rains in Rome? No one told me!) where I bought 3 liters of goat’s milk and got complemented on my red trenchcoat. You see, this is made of goat’s milk (the cajeta, not the red trenchcoat) which is a lot easier on my tummy.

3 hours later I had liquid gold (1 cup brown sugar and 1 pinch fleur de sel per liter milk, 1 vanilla pod, simmer for hours on smallest flame, whisking every now and then, till golden and thick). Jars and jars of it, although T. had threatened I wouldn’t have any cajeta left if I kept “tasting” during the cooking. Since then we have been eating cajeta with everything, and every once in a while everything with cajeta, just for a change. First there was Nicky’s (and her friend Stephanie’s) helado de cajeta, (with minor changes, I used more cream than milk) which I made without an ice cream machine. Yes it is possible. You just need to work it with your stick blender a couple of times during the freezing.

Helado de Cajeta

Can you believe I made ice cream, without a machine, in Rome, world’s ice cream capital? And it was so worth it, even T., who is the ice cream authority in our household, said it was perfect.

Then I thought about blondies. I had just read about them over at Smitten Kitchen. I couldn’t believe I had lived in the States for a year and baked thousands of chocolate chip cookies since then, without anyone telling me “you don’t have to scoop out cookies, just bake the dough and cut it into bite-size after baking”. Duh. So I baked Deb’s one-pot blondies, adding 2/3 cups of cajeta, 1 heaped tbsp more flour (to make up for the extra liquid), 1tsp of fleuer de sel (my favorite secret weapon in anything caramel-y or chocolate-y) and 1 cup of dark chocolate chunks. If you manage to get some dough into the oven (I almost ate the whole unbaked dough the first time around) and bake for just over 20 minutes, you will be rewarded with the fudgiest and most decadent blondies.

Blondies

And, just because I still had some cajeta, I also poured it over the simplest chocolate pudding (I can so relate to Deb’s story of her mother and the instant pudding). By the way, you can make this pudding with cacao instead of chocolate as well, just substitute 1/2 cups of cacao. Later, when I saw Cenk’s rendition of this, I banged my head on the walls. Why hadn’t I thought about putting the cajeta into the pudding?

Chocolate Pudding

So, now there is no cajeta left. But I have to make some more this afternoon, because Johanna mentioned something about eating “cajeta filled churros” in Mexico and it doesn’t look like she is giving me a recipe anytime soon, so I will have to experiment. Any ideas?

Jar
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23 Responses

  1. What a torture is to look at all those photos. All scream DELICIOUS.

  2. Oh wow, that all looks so amazing! I just made those one bowl brownies yesterday, unfortunately mine didn’t have cajeta!

  3. Delightful! Particularly that first photo. As a fellow avoid-er of condensed milk (poor stomach) I’ll definitely keep cajeta in mind!

    P.S. At the restaurant where I work, we serve a cajeta pear puree (cajeta and pureed poached pears) to accompany several of our cheeses. Yumm…

  4. you’re *killing* me. aside from the fact that it’s almost dinnertime and i’m hungry, every single one of those picture is gorgeous and i want to eat my laptop. i’ve been dithering about making homemade cajeta for a while now, but those blondies have pushed me over the edge.

  5. My God! What beautiful photos … I think I put on 10 pounds just looking at them. BROVO!

  6. Bravo! Bravo! Hande- what a way to spend the days in Rome… (And with a red trenchcoat, no less!). Beautiful pictures, and a mouthwatering cajeta menu. Now I’m hungry and no cajeta in sight! Keep up the good work!

  7. Joanna in the kitchen,
    thank you. I have a new camera and am loving it!
    brylinn,
    these are great, with or without cajeta!
    Cmoore,
    do try cajeta, it is really easier on the tummy and has a definitely differing taste. Cajeta pear puree is a great idea, I love chutneys and the like for cheese, have to try this.
    michelle @TNS,
    you are right, it takes some time but is not complicated or hard to do, so do make it. Because, you know, the blondies taste even better than they look!
    chuck,
    imagine what hubby and I had to go through (cough), not just looking at pictures but actually eating everything!
    stephanie,
    thanks for the compliments. And yes, I do love my red trenchcoat, it upgrades me instantly from “ragazza” to “signora” :-)

  8. I can assure that these Blondies were more than excellent.

    Hande, my friend in Munich as listen to your decision to live in Rome said :” I really respect that “ragazza” :) and her capacity to follow her passion, to do of her life what her desire “

  9. I’ve enjoyed this blog post— thanks for a great read!

  10. ok, ok. there is a recipe for churros on my site, btw… as to how to fill them with cajeta, i have no idea. pipiing it into them when they’re already fried seems like a good option, unless you want to pipe a strand, freeze it and pipe the choux pastry around… even thinking about it, this is very messy. so i suggest the same technique as for profiteroles and krapfen – fry your churros, then pipe in the (warmed cajeta).
    i see a field trip to mexico coming up… any joiners???

  11. Hello! I’ve been trying to make this, and it keeps separating on me. I’ve looked at a few different recipes, and followed the directions exactly, but I’ve been having the worst luck with this. Do you have any tips?

  12. Rossdibi,
    thank you twice!
    chefjp,
    thank you!
    Johanna,
    darn, I was hoping against all hope you would suggest an easy method. So we will have to make the field trip to Mexico, it seems. I bet Nicky would come, too.
    Amelia,
    although this never happened to me, I think the original dulce de leche or cajeta is meant to be made with milk that has been around too long and starts to separate when heated. Just ignore this and keep on simmering for hours, it should get its act together after a couple of hours!

  13. Hande, congratulations on Vino Roma. We now know where to find you ! Glad to read you were back in the kitchen. These are beatiful pictures. Enjoy your new camera:)

    Selamlar,

    Itir.

  14. Hallo Hande! It seems that the new camera and the new sun are still producing wonderful pictures. Before I start dipping my index in the gorgeous first photo on my display, one idea: I had recently in a restaurant here a salad with warm goat cheese and toffee sauce. I think you could – or should – try the same kind of combination with cajeta instead. I’d be interested to know if you like the result.

  15. all of your desserts look gorgeous. i am bookmarking your blog!

    i love dulce de leche.
    although i’m told but my mexican friends that in other spanish speaking countries the word cajeta has some interesting sexual connotations!

    and i laughed at your comment about rain in rome. i lived there for a while too and was shocked when it rained the first few times. it just never rains on tv!!!

  16. Beautiful photos and great post – a really good read.

  17. All the desserts and te cajeta turned out just gorgeous! The first and last pictures are brilliant!

  18. Itir,
    thank you. I really enjoy being in the kitchen and had missed it terribly!
    Véronique,
    this is the second time I hear about that combination. I guess I will have to try it. I will report!
    Anna,
    thank you. I think the word you mean is written very similarly and pronounced almost the same way. Or did I miss something? Write me an email, please!
    Simply…Gluten-free,
    thank you! At least some of the recipes are gluten-free!
    Tartelette,
    thank you! I love how those pictures turned out, too.

  19. Hi Hande,

    I’m going to have to set the record straight. I didn’t call David Lebovitz “names” as you put it. Oy. Everyone is going to hate me for this.

    I said he had a “Sandra Lee moment”. You know, sort of like when someone said they had a “blonde moment”? That’s not exactly calling him “names”, was it? Or perhaps I misunderstood the term.

    It’s all in good fun any way. I was looking for a dulce de leche recipe that began with actual milk, because that was what I had on hand and was trying to use up.

    Oh, yes, lovely post, except for the part that you put words in my mouth. Not sure I liked that so much.

    cheers,
    Pim

  20. Pim, Oy! I didn’t want to put words in your mouth, the whole tone of the post is rather ironic as you can see (I am questioning my best friend Nicky to be my best friend, see?) and I did put a direct link to your post so anyone can see what you really wrote. I was trying to make clear my respect and fear of your opinion, and why, after years, I gave up using canned condensed milk in favor of real milk, all in good fun, just like you meant! Don’t think anyone would hate you because of something little food vagabond wrote, neither should you “hate” me :)

  21. [...] have been some baking endeavors in the past months in the food vagabond kitchen, and one I even tinkered with without failing, so I got courageous. I read Deb’s account of how she tried to ruin the cherry cornmeal [...]

  22. [...] Fernando). Just mix a can of condensed milk, one can (use the same one) of strong espresso, add the fabulous cajeta you have in your fridge (I omitted the ground coffee as I dislike the gritty texture), mix and put [...]

  23. I just made these blondies! I had some dulce de leche that I wanted to use up, and I thought about using Lebovitz’s dulce de leche brownies, but then decided I wasn’t in the mood for that much chocolate. (Weird, huh?) So I googled dulce de leche blondies, and now I just ate a whole row of them all by myself…! I did a mix of whole wheat and AP flour, and then used some Guatemalan unprocessed cane sugar instead of commercial brown sugar. I decided to take you up on the fleur de sel idea, and then I put in lightly salted peanuts to keep up the theme — and whew, it’s yummy. Such a great play on sweet and salty! Thanks for the idea.

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