One of the really great things about travelling through so many countries (32 in total) is that we get to try so many different varieties of food and drink. Its an extra bonus to see the landscape change as we move through them at the “speed of life”. Watching the land by the roadside change from dairy to citrus and melon production, and then to beef producing grasslands, as we have done since leaving Buenos Aires, is fascinating, and then to be invited into the homes and share a meal with the people who live the landscape, and to seehow they prepare the changing produce is an extra bonus.
One of our favourite treats so far has been Dulce de Leche; a caramelised jam made from condensed milk sugar and vanilla. In southern Urugauy, where the fields were lush and full of happy looking dairy cows, this seemed to accompany everything.
Below is an old “secret” recipe given to us by a family who we stayed with near the city of Dolores. Its easy to make, it just requires a bit of stirring and a lot of patience
Dulce De Leche
5 Litres of Milk
1 teaspoon of Bicarbonate of Soda
1 vanilla Pod
6 glass marbles(this, we’re told, is the secret to preventing it sticking)
Combine all off the ingredients in the heaviest pot you can find, the heavier the pot the less likely it will burn.
Heat gently until all of the ingredients are well blended, making sure that all of the sugar is dissolved.
Simmer stirring every few minutes for roughly 3 hours.
You will need to stir it almost constantly one it starts to thicken and once it begins to colour, it will need you undivided attention.
It’s done when it’s the colour of the caramel part of a banoffi pie. If you you’ve never seen a banoffi pie or can’t remember its hue, just think of brown cords when its the colour of the brown cords that your teacher used to wear its good to go.
NB it’ll be very, very hot when its ready, so try to resist tasting a spoonful when you take it off the hob. And don’t forget to remove the marbles!!!!
This recipe should make 3-4 jars
Uruguayians use Dulce De Leche like jam; filling cakes, spreading it on bread, drizzling it over crepes and, my favourite, for flavouring ice cream.