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.
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.
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?
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?