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Mar 18, 2007 08:44 PM

Canned condensed milk morphs into Dulce de Leche

The Chowhound Team split this tangent from its original location on the L.A. board.
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I saw a great version on the food network recently... drop a can of condensed milk in a pot of boiling water, and boil for 90 minutes. Make sure the can is always completely submerged, and after boiling, don't open the can until it has cooled. When served warm, it's fantastic!

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  1. What a nice and easy recipe. I found some recipes online too, but they seemed more complicated. :)

    8 Replies
    1. re: katkoupai

      Katkoupai - a typo in my recipe - the can should be boiled for 3 hours, not 90 minutes. But you're right - pretty easy!

      1. re: meganw

        Sounds great! Thanks for posting it. :)

        1. re: katkoupai

          I think I read that recipe, too. Be careful, it mentioned the can could explode.

          1. re: 212

            Yep, that's why ensuring that the can is always completely submerged in the water is so critical - if the pot boiled dry, the can would explode. I use my pasta pot to make sure there's no chance of there NOT being enough water.

            1. re: meganw

              Absolutely make sure the can is covered in the water! When I was in high school my mother, who was a great affectionado of Eagle Brand cooked in the can, put one in a pot of water to do it's thing and forgot to turn the stove burner down before she took a nap! Result - brown deliciousness dripping from the dented kitchen ceiling and a big mess everywhere!

              1. re: meganw

                thanx for the sientific answer!!!

              2. re: 212

                No, it didn't, @212 (if that is your real name;P). If it did, that wasn't the recipe you read. The Food Network mentions nothing about exploding cans.

                In fact, this is really safe if you just deep- boil the can (stovetop or crock pot), or follow your pressure cooker's instructions.

                Seriously, the urban legends I've read here about "exploding cans" of sweetened condensed milk are embarrassing. They're all based on unrelated stories of idiots applying bare cans of other goods (beans, corn, etc) to dry heat (stove tops, camp fires, ovens, etc).

                @megnaw and @OCEllen had it right. But the Science is: submerge it so the bottom of the can doesn't rest hard on the bottom of the pot
                (give it a little room to float when the water's boiling). Then the burner won't conduct heat directly to the can's contents!

                Sweetened condensed milk boils at a *higher* temperature than water. It has both sugar and fat, which both raise the boiling point above plain water.

                Cooking manjar in a pressure cooker (with water) is also harmless *if you're using the cooker right*! It will also cut your time into a third.

                The pressure in the cooker will ALWAYS be greater than the pressure within the can as long as the seal is maintained. Remember, the stuff your cooking can only be a LOWER OR EQUAL TO temperature than what you're boiling it *IN*! When that stuff has a lower boiling point than water, you're pretty safe.

                THAT BEING SAID:
                Don't blow a pressure cooker's seal before it's cooled off! Just as in any pressure-cooking operation! If you mess this up, it's your fault, not the exploding can's. You screw up a pressure cooker, might as well blame the "exploding chicken" you tried to cook in it, too.

                Seriously, the urban legends I've read here about "exploding cans" of sweetened condensed milk are embarrassing. They're all based on unrelated stories of idiots applying bare cans of other goods (beans, corn, etc) to dry heat (stove tops, camp fires, ovens, etc).

                I've yet to find one single REAL account of someone deep-boiling ANY canned good, let alone manjar, having a can "explode." If the can is fully submerged in water, you're safe!

                Also, for everyone who says the "pressure" is compensated for when the can is fully submerged, I admit I believed that was true as well, for a long time. It just "feels" right.
                But, it's true because the bottom of the can isn't resting on the bottom of the pot! Otherwise, if that happens the heating element/flame can directly conduct heat to the can's contents, bringing it above the boiling point, similar to the other "idiots who heated a can directly on a burning heat source" stories.

            2. re: meganw

              It all depends on how thick you want it to be.

          2. My mom used to this in the pressure cooker! I don't recall how long. But this was at 9000 ft.

            Or you can let Nestle do it for you. The can I have is from Chile.

            1 Reply
            1. re: paulj

              Pressure cook for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on how thick you like the caramel. 20-minutes results in a caramel that will pour, 30-minutes results in a thick caramel that will not pour.

            2. My mother and grandmother have done it this way for decades (for use as filling in a sponge cake roll). I have a dedicated old pot for it (used another once and it dislcored the pot). I boil for 3 hours. If when you open the can, it doesn't seem quite done, put it back in the pot with the water almost to the top of the can at a simmer. Give it a stir every 10 minutes until you get the desired color.

              1. I've done this often, I learned the trick from the mom of my best friend in high school, who was a caterer. There is no danger, just make sure the water always covers the can. I boil it for 90 minutes and usually do three cans at a time so there is always a can in the cupboard. It makes very good caramel.

                If you want a great, easy pie to make with this, try Caramel Banana Pie:

                - Take one purchased Graham Cracker Pie Crust (or make your own)
                - Slice three fresh bananas in the pie crust
                - Pour the contents of 1 can all over the bananas
                - Top with fresh whipped cream


                3 Replies
                  1. re: Tom P

                    There is a restaurant in Alabama called The Boar's Butt Cafe, they make the same type of pie and call it "Boar's Butt Pie" Delish!!!

                    1. re: Tom P

                      They call that bannofee pie in the uk- it has a cult following.

                    2. CAn you store the "transformed" can indefinitely in the cupboard as long as it isn't opened?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: alex8alot

                        I am not sure I would go over a year. I once used one just under a year and all was well.