Characteristics and varieties of the delicious South American spreadable cream known as dulce de leche
There delicious spread cream typical of South America and known by us as dulche de leche is nothing but a thick cream based on milk, from intense taste reminiscent of toffee and caramel. Famous for being of Argentine origin, this milk jam actually varies in name, characteristics and use in the kitchen depending on the various South American countries, but in general it can be spread on toast or added to various desserts, including cakes, pastries, desserts spoon and ice cream. Let's then find out what it consists of and what are the main varieties and recipes based on dulce de leche.
The most famous spreadable cream in South America
Dulce de leche is a cream that is obtained essentially from the process of caramelization of milk. Although there is a quick home recipe that consists of heating a can of condensed milk for about 3 hours, the traditional recipe requires that it be cooked with milk, sugar and vanilla and sometimes a pinch of baking soda to speed up the caramelization of the sugar. The density of the dulce de leche is that of a concentrated cream or jam, the flavor is intense, sweet, sweetened and pleasantly vanilla, while the golden color is the result of the caramelization process of milk proteins. It is good to know, however, that the sweetness and consistency may vary depending on the brand and depending on the country of production. It can be consumed both at room temperature and heated and melted, ready to be poured over any type of dessert.
Dulce de leche: a cream, many names and many varieties
Although there is no certain evidence, the dulce de leche seems to be originally from Argentina, a country he is often associated with in the rest of the world. According to legend, in 1829 it was invented by a maid of the then political leader Juan Manuel de Rosa, who was distracted during the preparation of a typical drink called lechada, made from boiled milk and sugar, and when she returned at the stove he found it transformed into a sort of dense brown jam. Beyond the country of origin, it is in Argentina that it exists on the market the largest variety of milk creams. In addition to the classic spread recipe, it is in fact possible to purchase other types made with different recipes, including the ideal one for baked desserts (“del campo”), the ideal one for making ice cream (“heladero”), the one with the addition of honey or chocolate and, finally, the light one free of fats and cholesterol.
In Argentina this milk jam, in addition to preparing desserts and cakes of various types, is particularly popular spread on bread as a snack or breakfast, and as a filling for alfajor, the typical national biscuits, but of Arab origin, which were brought by the Spanish.
The dulce de leche is so called only in Argentina and Uruguay, while in other countries the names and sometimes the preparations change. In Mexicofor example, it is called cajeta and is composed of a combination of cow's milk and goat's milk, it is darker and is added to typical sweets including wafers and churros. In Colombia it is called arequipe and it is used to dissolve it in a glass of fresh milk. In Chile the dulce de leche is one of the ingredients of the traditional strudel (milhojas), or a multilayered cake also called "of a thousand sheets", made with puff pastry, dulce de leche and sometimes even cream or white chocolate.
In addition to the many original South American recipes exist other versions of the dulce de leche also in the rest of the world: the French confiture de lait, the Polish cream called kajmak, the Philippine pastillas de leche and the Norwegian Viking Melk, an evaporated milk (i.e. unsweetened condensed milk) that is boiled in water.