I could not rightfully keep a food blog about Brazilian food without including what seems to be the "glue" of most Brazilian desserts; Condensed milk. I have never seen a people consume as much of it as they do here. In almost every dessert you will find it as an ingredient, and if not, you can probably add it to the dish somehow. Condensed milk is the only ingredient needed to make what I am going to now discuss the making of; Doce de Leite. Doce de Leite ("doh-see" "dgee" "lay-chee") basically means Milk Dessert or Candy in English. Technically it means "sweet of milk," but that wouldn't really make sense to say. It tastes very much like caramel.
That is how it actually originates though. To make condensed milk, you heat powdered milk and sugar on a stove until it begins to turn into a yellow-ish goop.
To make doce de leite from scratch, all you need is milk and sugar. You must be prepared to stand there stirring for a loooong time though. The end product is a very milk creamy almost pudding like dessert.
This type of doce de leite is also not exactly the same as the kind made the way I am about to show you, which is more of a caramel/candy type texture. I prefer this way the most. And here is the incredibly simple recipe for that:
What you will need:
- 1-3 cans of sweetened condensed milk
- 1 very large soup pot (depending on how many cans you plan to put inside of it)
- utensil to retrieve can from hot water
- can opener
- self control (it is REALLY delicious)
Ready for the easiest recipe ever?
1. Place your UNOPENED can(s) of condensed milk into the pot and fill with enough water to completely submerge the cans. THEY MUST STAY COVERED WITH WATER! If you allow them to boil dry they can explode. Not good.
2. Turn fire on medium to high flame.
3. Once the water starts boiling, leave it for 2 1/2 hours. If you have a pressure cooker and can use that, it only has to cook for 40 minutes.
4. Once time is up, remove the can(s) and allow them to completely cool off before attempting to open it. If you try to open it while it's hot, the contents may burst out into your eyes and cause blindness. Or something bad like that. So just please let it cool off first.
5. Eat it out of the can or transfer into a bowl and store in the fridge. You can add pretty much anything to it, or add IT to pretty much anything.
6. Enjoy and share with others.
ALTERNATE RECIPE:For those who would prefer to try the completely homemade version, here is how you do it:
1. Place 8 1/2 cups of milk into a large pot with 4 cups of sugar.
2. Stir the ingredients first without heat until the sugar is totally dissolved (to avoid clumping at the bottom of the pan when sugar begins to crystallize).
3. Medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. You are seriously going to be stirring for about 15 minutes before you start to see the mixture thickening and turning a golden color.
Here is what it should resemble when ready:
4. Remove from heat and allow to slightly cool before transferring into a container of your choice. Store in the fridge.
Note - In Brazil people often mix doce de leite with strawberries, prunes, coconut, and chocolate. I have also had it with candied figs.
There is really no end to what you can put in this stuff... and put it on. It makes any dessert more delicious. It is also wonderful on toast in inside of breads and donuts! Have fun and experiment, or just eat it right out of the can/container like I do!