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Apr 17, 2001 11:56 AM

Sweened condensed milk

  • c

I picked up a 14oz. can of good (nothing in it but milk and sugar) imported-from-Mexico sweetened condensed milk. Does anyone know of a good dessert recipe using this product? A search on SOAR did not yield very much since their search engine is still keyed to recipe titles and not ingredients. Thanks for your help.

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  1. I remember a sweetened condensed milk pudding I made years ago, by merely pricking holes in the top of the tin, partially covering it with water and then boiling for ages. Thinking about this now, I worry that I was harboring a potential bomb on my stove. It sounds like something that can blow at any minute. It was delicious--but be sure to prick a lot of holes in the can.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Lynn
      Brian Lindauer

      I saw a "toffee" recipe like this in a some magazine (Details?), but without the holes in the tin. I found some other, similar recipes on the internet. So either it's safe, or all these people are posting untried recipes.


      1. re: Brian Lindauer

        Here we go again - there was a long thread on this a while ago - look for "dulce de leche" which can be made in just this manner - yes, the condensed milk can be cooked in the can without harm - the very process of "canning" foods involves heating the food in a water bath or under steam pressure.

        1. re: Jen Kalb
          Susan Thomsen

          There's a great recipe for Coconut Macaroons in "Joy of Cooking." The sweetened condensed milk and flaked/shredded sweetened coconut make for a dee-lish combo. These are hard to screw up, even if one inadvertently specializes in kitchen disasters.

          "Joy of Cooking" also has a recipe for Tres Leches cake, under "Latin Sponge Cake with 'Three Milks'," but I haven't tried that one. It certainly sounds good.


      2. re: Lynn

        The reason for the warning on the Eagle Brand can -- "Caution: Do not heat unopened can!" -- is that you really CAN blow up your kitchen unless the can is completely covered with water at all times while cooking. I cook about 4 cans of mangar blanco (that's what they call dulce de leche in Peru, where I learned this trick) at a time in a big pot on the stovetop, keeping the water 2" above the tops of the cans and at a hard boil for a couple hours.

        To get back to the original can also make a lovely rice pudding with sweetened condensed milk, fresh milk, and cooked rice, heated up on the stovetop.

        I'd be curious to hear how the Mexican brand compares to Eagle and Magnolia in taste. I've never noticed a difference between Latin American and US brands. I've also never noticed any resemblance to "wax" in any brand that contains only sugar and milk.

        1. re: Suky

          "I've never noticed a difference between Latin American and US brands. I've also never noticed any resemblance to "wax" in any brand that contains only sugar and milk."

          Yes, you're right. My point is that a lot of products they're passing off as "condensed milk"--Parrot brand, for instance (hope I'm correct on this one)--have ingredients other than sugar and milk. Eagle and Magnolia (and a number of Latino and Russian brands in my neighborhood) are the real thing and taste accordingly.

      3. c
        Caitlin McGrath

        The long-cooked sweetened condensed milk others have mentioned is the general family (technique and flavor) of dulce de leche.

        Here are some other SCM ideas:

        SCM is the base of the classic key lime pie recipe. (Back in the day, they didn't get fresh dairy down in the keys, and someone discovered--one of those fortuitous accidents that are the basis of so much good food--that the citric acid in the limes reacts with the SCM to thicken it, and that reaction is the basis for the pie filling.) Linked below is a recipe from Epicurious for an "old-fashioned" lime pie that I've made many times; it is very easy. It's good with reg (not key lime) juice; just don't call it key lime pie [g]. I especially like the crumb crust made with Nabisco gingersnaps.

        A terrifically easy and indulgent recipe with SCM is a chocolate dip. You just combine the condensed milk and a bag of choc chips (or 12 oz. chopped bittersweet chocolate if you want better chocolate/more bittersweet flavor) and cook over very low heat, whisking, until the chocolate is melted. Off the heat, add 2-4 tablespoons (to taste) liqueur of choice, such as Kahlua or Grand Marnier. Scrape into a bowl and let cool to lukewarm or room temp before serving. It will thicken up to about the consistency of buttercream. Then use it as a dip for orange sections, strawberries, etc.--any fruit that matches well with chocolate. This is *always* a hit at parties, and you don't need to keep a flame under it or use forks, as with choc fondue. (Note: *do not* refrigerate this before serving, as it will harden up and if reheated will become grainy and no longer be creamy. You can make it earlier in the day and let it stay at [warmish--like in the kitchen near but not on the stove] room temp.)


        1. Sweetened condensed milk makes a wonderful, rich, velvety flan. Those countries that do not have fresh milk widely available (such as the Philippines where I lived for three years), use canned milk (condensed and evaporated) instead, often with wonderful results, as in the case of flan de caramelo. You can experiment with a combination of condensed milk, evaporated milk, and fresh milk to get the texture you prefer. The greater the proportion of canned milk, the denser and creamier the texture. The greater the proportion of fresh milk, the lighter the texture. My favorite recipe uses one can of condensed milk, one can of evaporated milk, three eggs, and a teaspoon of vanilla. However, you can use the condensed milk alone, or a combination of condensed milk and fresh milk.

          1. Tres Leches Cake! I don't really have a sweet tooth, this cake is light and not as sweet as most, so I always order it when I find it. See link to a recipe below.

            This hot fudge recipe is EASY and so delicious. My Grandma made it all the time and even my dad can cook it.

            Amazing Hot Fudge Sauce:

            1 can SCM
            2 - 3 oz Baker's chocolate (I like 3)
            1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

            Stir constantly over low heat.


            1. In the notebook in which my grandmother painstakingly copied down brand-name convenience recipies from the 40s and 50s, there is a recipe for cookie bars made with sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, graham crackers, etc. I've seen similar recipes elsewhere too (see link below). The finished result sounds super-sweet and about as natural as a Hostess Twinkee, but I bet it's delicious. Pure Americana.

              By the way, I don't remember my grandmother ever actually making them, probably because we were always clamoring for her famous rugelach and lemon cake instead!


              6 Replies
              1. re: Fern C.

                Fern, I've had those cookies and they are both good, and sweet enough to set your teeth on edge. What I'd really love to see is a recipe (roughly, if necessary) of your grandmother's lemon cake recipe.

                I recently tried a lemon-buttermilk pound cake from Fine Cooking Magazine that we love, and baked it 7 times before I realized it is very close to the 2 egg cake my grandmother made for my grandfather at least 3 times a week. She topped it with a lemon sauce.

                1. re: Ann Leneave

                  Sadly, Ann, my project to type up all the recipes from Nana's notebook and produce cute little cookbooks for her kids and grandkids didn't get very far. Mostly due to her combination of extreme nearsightedness, bad English and spelling, inconsistent measurement notations, and habit of writing down the same recipe over and over but with slightly different ingredients and amounts. The truth is, of course, she never used recipes anyway!

                  But, funnily enough, I had a very similar experience to yours when I first made the lemon cake recipe below (copy here is courtesy of my coworker Carolyn). It is truly delicious -- and as my father or brother said, "Just like Nana's lemon cake but better!" Oops. I hope she didn't hear me.

                  Here it is:

                  Maida Heatter's Lemon Bundt Cake

                  3 cups flour
                  2 tsp. baking powder
                  1/2 tsp. salt
                  2 sticks softened butter
                  2 cups sugar
                  4 large eggs
                  1 cup milk
                  1 tbsp+ grated lemon peel

                  GLAZE: 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice, 2/3 cup sugar

                  Heat oven to 350. Grease/flour pan. Mix flour, salt, baking powder together. In large bowl, beat butter & sugar until creamy, mixer on medium. Add eggs 1 at a time, mix after each, scraping sides of bowl. On low speed, add flour in 3 additions, alternating w/milk in 2 additions. Add grated lemon peel after 2nd addition of milk. Scrape batter into pan. Level batter by briskly rotating pan left/right, right/left a few times. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

                  Cool cake in pan 5 minutes. Cover with rack & invert. Remove pan. Place rack over foil or wax paper. Prepare glaze by mixing sugar & lemon juice
                  together. Brush all over hot cake. Use all glaze, just keep on brushin' baby. Let cake cool completely before removing to a plate, or if you're
                  lucky, your $3.00 Rubbermaid cake carrier from Lechters. Enjoy!!

                  1. re: Fern C.

                    The Maida Heatter recipe makes a delicious cake. But if your grandma went for the recipes on the back of boxes, maybe what she actually made was more down-market that lemon sheet or bundt cake (using lemon cake mix with a pack of lemon pudding added to it)topped while still hot with a glaze consisting of a small can of frozen lemonade concentrate, mixed with powdered sugar (you poked holes in the cake so that some of it soaked in) that my Mom carried to many a church supper in the 60s and 70s. I still make it for church suppers sometime. Its rather spongy and dense and very lemony. Not fine cooking or eating but still very popular. These kinds of cakes are apparently still big in the Midwest - My Mom served a pink cake a couple of years back made with strawberry cake mix and strawberry jello. Yuck! I can never get over the fact that a State Fair Homemaker of the Year who bakes a mean pie and excellent bread can fall so far into error!

                    1. re: Fern C.

                      Thanks so much Fern! This recipe is exactly like the one I've been baking except for the milk. The one from Fine Cooking uses buttermilk (same amount) and 1/2 teaspoon more salt for 3 cups of flour. That recipe is for 1/2 the amount and is baked in a loaf pan, but can be doubled. This is all too funny!

                      At any rate, it is a dynamite recipe and everyone loves it. I do cut down on the sugar about 2 tablespoons. And I've found that Meyer lemons are great for it. (There is no baking soda, even with the buttermilk.)

                      1. re: Ann Leneave

                        How funny! No baking soda--but baking powder, yes? Can't wait to try the loaf pan idea! Bundt cakes always scare me a little--did it perfectly twice but one time my poor cake stuck to the pan.

                        1. re: Fern C.

                          The baking powder amount is the same, which would be 1 teaspoon for the loaf pan size. You can taste the tanginess of the buttermilk better. I use a shiny tinned steel pan that works beautifully. It keeps the cake from browning too much. I have a Wolf (30") range and I bake it at 325, without convection, for about 55 minutes to an hour. (It seems to be very important to catch it when it has just begun to turn a light golden brown, so it stays as moist as possible. I'm sure you already know all that). Let it rest in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack while it is still warm. It should slip right out. Let me know how it is.

                          Also, if you are a Maida Heatter fan, have you made her chocolate shortbread cookies? It's the easiest, best recipe and garanteed to please any chocolate lover(especially if made with William-Sonoma's Pernigotti cocoa, and double the amount of cocoa).