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May 8, 2007 12:57 PM

dulce de leche ice cream (May 07 Gourmet)

Just a heads up about an astoundingly good -- and dead simple -- ice cream recipe in the current issue of Gourmet. It's a simple dulce de leche ice cream that's both speedy and delicious.

2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 lb. dulce de leche
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ounces chopped pecans, toasted

Bring milk and cream just to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Add dulce de leche and whisk until melted. Add vanilla extract.

Pour mixture into a bowl, then place that bowl into an ice bath to chill. Cool, stirring occasionally, until mixture is chilled, 20 to 30 minutes. Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer instructions, folding in toasted pecans at end of cycle or after freezing. Spoon into container and freeze until firm.

My changes: my neighborhood bodega only carries one brand of dulce de leche, which comes in a 13.5 ounce container. I made up the weight by adding Trader Joe's fleur de sel caramels, although in retrospect, I don't think that will be necessary. I also salted the pecans as I was toasting them, because salt and caramel play well together. I also omitted the vanilla, and by "omitted," I mean "forgot."

This is as simple an ice cream recipe as I've ever seen, and it's certainly the best ice cream I've ever made. I believe this is going to be our go-to ice cream in the future.

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  1. Thanks for the note. I am looking forward to making it, but worry about being able to find the dulce de leche. Would a normal grocer carry this or maybe whole foods?

    19 Replies
    1. re: malenky

      Whole Foods very likely has it although I haven't actually looked, and if your local supermarket has a decent-sized Latino section, it probably will as well.

      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

        Whole Foods (Union Square, Manhattan) carries La Salamandra brand dulce de leche, which is the brand called for in GOURMET's recipe.

      2. re: malenky

        Many local groceries now have ethnic food sections and you can often find dulce de leche in the Latin food area. Whole Foods may well have some but I'm not certain. Same for Trader Joe's. If you have a Latino community near you many of the local bodegas will carry it. If all that fails, you can order online or make your own using sweetened condensed milk which you cook. I've never done it myself but I've been told it is not that hard. Me though, I'd try to buy it first.

        1. re: laylag

          I make my own dulce de leche. Just put a can of sweetened condensed milk (with the label removed) in a big pot of water, bring to a boil and then just let it simmer for a few hours. I've done this countless times and it's just as delicious as the $8 jar I've purchased as Sur La Table.

          1. re: MaryMo

            Paying $8 a jar for dulce de leche is insanity. The good stuff at the neighborhood bodega or the Latin foods section of the megamart is around $2.29.

            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

              Thanks all... unfortunately our only latin store never reopened after Katrina...I don't think another one opened...but I'll have to check. this is alot of money when I can make my own.

            2. re: MaryMo

              Don't you have to puncture the lid of the can and stand it upright? Wouldn't pressure build up in the can and cause an explosion? I remember a cookbook was once recalled (in the 1960s?) for having a recipe that caused such an explosion.

              1. re: Tom Steele

                I know this is a common concern, but it's never happened to me (and I use this method frequently) nor have I actually heard of this actually happening to anyone. However, I guess anything is possible, right? The can is totally immersed in water so I don't puncture it. It's a slow cook, so I doubt it's actually boiling in the can. In Daisy Martinez's cookbook "Daisy Cooks" she just slowly goods the condensed milk in the double boiler. So if exploding cans is a concern, I'd do it that way.

                1. re: Tom Steele

                  No and No. The key here is keeping the can at the correct temperature. That means making sure the can stays fully submerged in the boiling water, so the can never gets over 212 degrees F. I personally suggest using a crock pot. Plug it in, put 3 to 4 cans of sweetened condensed milk, fill with water, put on lid, set to low and go to work. When you come home you'll have 4 cans of dulce de leche, all of which are still shelf stable!! Use one now for ice cream, use another for dessert coffee at your next dinner party, use the others later on for bannofi pie (banana, toffee, whip cream = yum).

                  1. re: InmanSQ Girl

                    As I've said before, I've never had a problem making the dulce de leche this way. I survived; I'm sure you will too.

                    1. re: InmanSQ Girl

                      That is exactly how I made 4 cans last week. The dulce de leche turned out great and nothing exploded. As mentioned, the very important thing is to keep the cans totally submerged. If there's a chance of evaporation (not much if you keep the slow cooker lid on), just err on the side of covering the cans with a LOT of water. Oh, and make sure it's cooled before you open the cans! With condensed milk less than $1 a can at the Chinese grocery store, this is a great deal.

                      1. re: 2m8ohed

                        Check the labels on those very inexpensive cans of condensed milk. They may be made from reconstituted milk. I'm not saying you should avoid them, just be aware of what you are getting.

                        1. re: paulj

                          If this were milk I was drinking, I'd definitely want to know that. But how does it make a difference in sweetened condensed milk? I'm curious.

                          1. re: paulj

                            "Nestle. Ingredients: Milk, sugar." "Product of Mexico." 89 cents. Same stuff I saw in the Nob Hill grocery store for $2.50 a can, except that the label is in English, Chinese, and Vietnamese rather than just in English. Other times the stuff that's on sale is Carnation, Magnolia, or other brands recognizable to non-Chinese folks.

                      2. re: Tom Steele

                        Checking a few recipe sites on the web, one or two do call for puncturing the top of the can, in which case you want to keep the top above the water line while cooking. There are also recipes where you cook a gallon of whole milk and lots of sugar in a double boiler and stir every five minutes for several hours. If someone tries this, please be sure to let us know if it was worth it.

                        1. re: Zeldog

                          I have made cajeta from whole goats milk - very similar, and yes it is fabulous. I like that you can control the sugar in it (because I find some of the products too sweet for my taste). That being said - it takes time and effort and is probably not worth it I think. I happened to have goat's milk to use. I didn't use a double boiler, I simmered it (not boiled) until it was reduced down for the first hour or so, then stirred more often after that.

                          1. re: Zeldog

                            A number of Indian sweets are made from milk cooked down to a paste (but not necessarily caramelized). A short cut in some cookbooks is to start with milk enriched with powdered milk.


                        2. re: MaryMo

                          One more vote here for making your own. I make my own and it is really easy.

                          I bring the water to a boil, then turn the light down to simmer, and add tap water whenever the water is lower than the level of the can. It takes exactly 3 hours and it's perfect.

                          I don't think a can like that would explode because it should start puffing up first, once its hot the metal should be able to stretch a little (if botulin gas can puff up a can, why not other air, right?)... I would say if your can starts changing shape at all, take it off the heat immediately, but I'd be shocked if there were any sudden explosions... and in any case, it's never happened to me and I am very not careful with this recipe.

                    2. Thanks BFP - I was just looking at that recipe as we both love dulce de leche. I'll try it this week! Hmmm. I might try it with cajeta.

                      1. Ok, sounds good, but I've tried this twice, once using the straight recipe and once adding a couple egg yolks and it just doesn't set up. All I get is soup. Anybody actually try this recipe and get ice cream?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Zeldog

                          Zeldog: I just rechecked that recipe against the one in the magazine, and the process is identical. I assure you that the results wee far from soup: actually, it was the best-textured ice cream I've ever gotten from our Cuisinart ice cream maker. Don't know what to tell you.

                        2. We made this last week in honor of Cinco de Mayo (I know, I know-they are totally different but I couldn't think of another Mexican inspired desert and I REALLY REALLY wanted to try this recipe) and I agree w/Barmy's comments-it's fabulous and oh so easy. I like the idea of salting the pecans-I'll try that next time. And also, next time instead of buying the pricey dulce de leche at Corti Bros, I'll stick with the version sold in the ethnic food section of my Raley's for less than half the cost. I compared the igredients and, not surprisingly, they were identical.

                          1. Just curious: after weeks of anticipation we made this yesterday and had it with strawberries. The sharpness of the berries (which were excellent, and dressed with a small amount of vanilla sugar) made the ice cream taste poisonously sweet, to me.

                            I've just tried it again on its own and it's better, but by no means the best ice cream I've ever made, and absolutely not anything I'd single out as "not too sweet" (quoting the Gourmet recipe description). Do I just have an inverse sweet tooth (though my daughter thought the same yesterday), or did it strike anyone else this way? Or it possible some brands of dulce de leche are sweeter than others?

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: cmkdvs

                              Could be. Do you know which brand you used?

                              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                "Havanna" (with two n's). It's the brand our co-op stocks, although I didn't notice until after we got it home that it's flavored with vanillin, so conceivably it's not top of the line stuff.

                                1. re: cmkdvs

                                  Could be, I'm not familiar with that brand. I've been having no trouble with the Nestle brand from our neighborhood bodega, which does not strike me as particularly sweet. Less so than, say, straight Eagle Brand in its nautral state.