Dulce de leche is a sweet preparation with a caramel flavor from Latin America that can be enjoyed on its own or as a sauce. Sweetened milk is cooked slowly until it thickens and darkens in color. In Mexico it is called Cajeta if it is made using goat’s milk. I followed Pati Jinich’s recipe to make cajeta for a Mexican dessert. It can also be made by cooking a can of sweetened condensed milk sous-vide. Read on to find out the difference between the two versions.
For cajeta prepared traditionally
2 litres (8 cups) goat’s milk (you can make it with cow’s milk, but then it will be dulce de leche, not cajeta)
500 grams (2 1/2 cups) dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
For sous-vide dulce de leche
1 can of sweetened condensed milk, label removed
Pour the milk into a large casserole.
Add baking powder…
Stir well and bring to a boil.
Regulate the heat to a steady simmer, and stir from time to time.
As water evaporates the simmer will get stronger, so lower the heat as needed.
When it starts to bubble like a caramel, it is almost ready.
The cajeta is ready when it coats the back of a spoon and if the spoon leaves a ‘trace’ as you move it around. This takes about 2 hours.
Transfer to a container and allow to cool. You can keep the cajeta in the refrigerator.
There is nothing to it. Just cook a can of sweetened condensed milk sous-vide for 12 hours at 85C/185F.
It may be a good idea to put something between the can and any metal, because the rust will stain. (I could clean the rust away quite easily though.)
The can will develop some rust, but nothing to worry about too much.
Here you can see the difference in color between the cooked and uncooked condensed milk.
Here you can see the difference between the sous-vide dulce de leche and the homemade cajeta. The sous-vide version was delicious, but the traditionally made version was deeper and darker in flavor. Although the condensed milk has already been thickened compared to fresh milk, the traditional version is thickened even more by evaporation. The sous-vide preparation does not allow for any preparation. The traditional version is also thicker and more viscous.
Although the sous-vide preparation is easier, the traditional preparation is not that hard. It just requires stirring once in a while during the 2 hour cook.
Fregola or fregula is one of the typical pasta shapes from Sardinia. It is like very thick spaghetti made from durum wheat, cut into short pieces and then toasted. It is a bit like large couscous and can be cooked like risotto, but when I was in Sardinia I noticed that it was also served “in brodetto” which basically means slightly soupy. That means a lot less stirring, so less work, and it is very good as well. This is fregula with mussels and tomatoes.