Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cajeta

So I was looking at this cake recipe that had me intrigued first of all it's called Flan Impossible! (I feel the need for some reason to add the exclamation mark).  The first thing the recipe says is you will need 1 cup Cajeta (homemade or store bought).  I was like Cajeta what?  Maybe I've been living under a culinary rock all my life,but I had never heard of Cajeta, and thought it was irresponsible of Saveur Magazine to just list it and breezily move along as if every house wife across America had Cajeta in their larder or a recipe close at hand.  Dutifully I did a Google search and found out that Cajeta is another name for Dulce De Leche.  Which recently I seem to be obsessed with as only a week ago I posted this recipe for making it using cans of  sweetened condensed.  

I like this recipe better, mostly because it uses real ingredients and gives you some options to play around with.
You can use Goat Milk or Cow Milk, I used Goat Milk, apparently Cow Milk Cajeta is popular in Cuba, but in this Mexican version Goat Milk and cinnamon are used.

In a large 6 Quart or bigger heavy bottomed pot add 2 Cups of Sugar and 1/2 gallon (2 quarts) of Milk.

Over medium high heat bring to slow rolling boil, stirring occasionally then immediately take it off the heat.  In a small bowl add 1/2 teaspoon of Baking Soda and 1 tablespoon of Water, stir until dissolved.  Pour into the hot milk and stir briefly.  Depending on the kind of milk it will foam up considerably.  Wait for this to subside (about 5 minutes and I gave it several stirs to help it along) then return it to the heat. At this point you can add a 2" stick of Cinnamon or a Vanilla bean pod.  I think the vanilla is better added as an extract at the end.  I used cinnamon which is nice but in a way I think you might want to make it just plain.  Maybe adding a pinch of salt and some run at the end (maybe a pt of butter) but really this recipe should be all about simplicity.  Adding all those things starts to make it something else, which could be equally delicious but something other than Cajeta.
You want it to be a gentle boil - and you need to keep an eye on it, stirring it often.  This takes at least an hour or more.
When the mixture has boiled down to a nice thickness you are down.  If when it cools you end up with more of a fudge then a thick sauce add some water and whisk until you get it to where you want it.  This may require reheating it.  I found it easy as long as I kept watching  it.  This is especially true in the later part of the cooking.

This is delicious on toast or ice cream on your fingers poured over, well, anything. - it's just fucking delicious! And a great thing to have in your fridge - put it in a fondue pot and serve with sliced apples and you have a fancy last minute dessert for company.

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