In search for the perfect Dulce de Leche
Sweets and desserts is a weakness of ours. Ice-cream, pastries, cookies, sorbets, buns - whatever that is well made and contains sugar really. Except for perhaps guava cheese or tamarind balls.. Here in Colombia as well as in the rest of South America, dulce de leche (also called Arequipe) is a popular thing to add inside or on top of desserts. You'll find it as an accompaniment to pancakes, inside of buns, cookies or cakes, you can spoon it up from a box in hard version and eat it as it is - or have your waffles floating around in it. In many parts of South America, Argentina especially, the basic dulce de leche is sold in any supermarket, served as a part of desserts in every restaurant and is loved by almost everyone. It's a part of their culture as much as coffee is.
Dulce de leche which literally means the sweet of milk, is similar to what we would call caramel elsewhere though it's even closer to the French confiture de lait. The basic traditional dulce de leche recipe calls for nothing more than milk sweetened with sugar, but the quality and way of preparing it differs naturally from place to place, kitchen to kitchen. It's the sort of thing that is absolutely divine if done right, but can also be a mere dull sugar bomb if you're unlucky. The real good ones I've tasted in my life consist also of vanilla, a bit of salt, and even cinnamon at times.
Restaurant Crepes and Waffles gets 2 out of 5 dulce de leche stars from us today. The waffles were good but the caramel offered merely a basic sweetened-condensed-milk-in-the-micro-oven-kind-of-taste. Best in town so far must have been that cake we had the other week at Mila which could reach a 3,5 to be fair.
If you'll ever try your hands on making your own dulce de leche, I would recommend making it with real whole milk and add your own sugar rather than using canned sweetened condensed milk which so many websites suggests. And don't forget to add a good amount of fresh vanilla seeds, at least that's what I would do. Am going to experiment with my own version and will let you know how that goes.