Sunday night rewind

{Sunday night is if-its for dinner: our version of leftovers. If it's in the fridge you can have it for dinner. Also Sunday Night Rewind, a revisiting of an old post. Tonight's edition originally posted on 16th September 2009.}


dulce de leche


As I wandered about my kitchen at 5.30pm this afternoon with my friend Yvette, who was picking up her son who'd come around the corner to my place because he'd forgotten his keys, and I was telling her that I was about to take Tilly to the doctor because she had a raging ear infection and a persistent temperature, I referred to the Dulce de Leche simmering on the stove and Yvette said, "Today? Why would you make that today, with a sick toddler?"

Yes, a very good question.

Because when things get blue, I cook.

Because Tilly conked out around lunchtime and I looked at the tin of condensed milk in my cupboard and thought, hello.

Because if I don't get seriously started on my list of 20 New Things it'll be one more thing I didn't do this year.

Because if I wasn't Inner Pickle, I'd have to be Curious Cook. Don't you just want to know what happens inside that can for three and a half hours?!?!

Here's how I started:


One tin of Nestle Condensed Milk, label taken off, in my biggest stock pot, covered with water.

David Lebovitz makes this by pouring the condensed milk into a baking dish, covering it and baking for an hour and a half.


Unless there's a real risk of boiling exploding cans, you're only half alive. 

Chocolate Suze has made this and warned of not puncturing the can, which would have been my impulse, and as some sites suggest, as it's easy for water to get in and crystallize the caramel. 

(She also very strongly recommended letting the can cool down before cracking open, to avoid scalding molten caramel geysering into your eye. Good advice.)

There's conflicting online advice about whether the water needs to be part-way up the can or totally and absolutely 100% covering the can at all times, don't doze off or go cuddle a sick kid because the can will EXPLODE if it is not covered with water even for a nanosecond. 

You know, I like risk. But not of the it'll-take-me-three-hours-to-scrape-that-off-the-ceiling kind. So BIG stockpot, lots and lots of water. Three and a half hours and there we have it, folks:


Dulce de Leche.


Now what do I do with it? Eat it by the spoonful and fall into a sugar coma? 

These alternatives look awesome:

Smitten Kitchen's Dulce de Leche cheesecake squares
David Lebovitz's Dulce de Leche brownies

You could put it in a tart or warm it and drizzle it over vanilla icecream.

I reckon at Christmas time I'll leave it on the stove another hour to make it firmer and roll it into chocolate coated balls. 

SO good. Not so good for you. You don't come here for diet tips, right?




16 Comments on “Sunday night rewind

September 25, 2011 at 9:10 pm

I so love this. and love that it has a fancy name! my mum was a nurse when I was growing up, and cooking not really her forte. So anytime we had to “take a plate” to a school function, good ol caramel tart it was. I rarely got to have a slice myself, because it always went so quickly. And since growing up myself, I have learnt, the hard way, not to pierce the can and not to open it up too quickly once the cooking is complete. Thanks for the memories.

September 25, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Banoffee Pie, only way to go.

knutty knitter
September 25, 2011 at 11:14 pm

My brother in law managed to explode one of those. There were still signs of it on the ceiling several years later when they repainted it and my sister said everything was sticky and had to be washed – floors, walls, ornaments, fruit and fruit bowl, things hanging round on benchtops, ceiling (they had a 16 foot stud!). They were finding sticky bits for months!

Tastes good though πŸ™‚

viv in nz

September 26, 2011 at 12:03 am

I used to make this all the time and never encountered an exploding can (thank goodness)! The boyfriend loves it in banoffee pie but I favour something more simple – sandwiched between two cookies πŸ™‚

September 26, 2011 at 12:49 am

That’s totally freaky! I hadn’t seen this when I emailed you. When the going gets tough, the tough make caramel. Would definitely taste better if you were making it for me though, or even better, if we were scoffing it together with a nice cup of tea. xo

September 26, 2011 at 6:30 am

You know, when you re-post something that I have read before, and it’s from two years ago – just shows me HOW LONG I have been following this blog! Over here, we had a little boy with a fever and we baked muffins.
Best, Andrea, Ob*U

September 26, 2011 at 7:49 am

Gee whiz, I didn’t even know that you could do that. How awesome

September 26, 2011 at 9:01 am

I make caramel pies with mine. Just so delish. mmmm

Darren (Green Change)
September 26, 2011 at 2:07 pm

I’m with Robyn – slop it into a blind-baked pie shell (or even a store-bought one if you’re short on time) and call it caramel tart. Yum!

I’m now looking over those other recipes to see what else you can do with it.

My grandfather loves condensed milk. Whenever he goes to the doctor for a prescription, he always asks if it’s OK to take the new pills with condensed milk. The doctor says “err, yeah, sure, whatever”. Then Granddad comes home and tells everyone the doctor said he had to take his pills with condensed milk!

September 26, 2011 at 3:04 pm

I was reading about this method in a recipe recently. I love sweetened condensed milk by the spoonful and adore caramel so I know I will love this! Apparently cooking this yourself is far superior to the canned caramel condensed milk you can buy.

September 26, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Oh my word, you put it in the fridge on a Sunday, and invite me round for dinner!

September 26, 2011 at 10:48 pm

mmmmm yum, my kids make chokky balls from sweetened condensed milk, marie biscuits and cacao. They will go nuts when i show them what else we can do with it! The health aware nut in me cant help but wonder if any of the tin leaches into the caramel with all that heating?

September 27, 2011 at 11:15 pm

oh my, mum’s argentinian and dulce de leche is a must! thanks for sharing
btw I found you through down-to-hearth blog. Going to peruse all past posts

hugs from Italy

Estelle C
September 28, 2011 at 8:49 am

I remember this post SO CLEARLY! How can it be two years ago?? I refered to the original post over Easter 2010 when making a caramel cheese cake. OH MY WORD.

September 28, 2011 at 9:04 pm


September 29, 2011 at 6:07 am

That looks divine.

I totally had one of those days a few weeks back. Sick toddler. Sick babe. Disaster of a house. Tired mama. What did I do? I caramelized onions for 2.5 hours so I could make homemade french onion soup. Seriously?!

Glad I’m not the only crazy one.


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