Dulce de Leche is really obnoxious to make. Like, really out-of-control obnoxious. When you google how to make dulce de leche and the instructions are to simply heat it over low heat, stirring constantly, until thick and caramel-colored, you might think this sounds simple. You would probably be a tiny bit wrong. Because while that sounds great in theory, at least for me, this “constant stirring” business went on for at least an hour. An hour of stirring sweetened condensed milk, hoping that it would thicken up! Somewhere in that hour, the battle became whether or not to just turn the heat way up and hope my stirring would outdo any burning that may occur, or to just continue stirring on low until dulce de leche formed. I opted for somewhere in between, eventually pumping the heat up to medium and amping up my stirring so that way things would move faster.
After slaving away for an hour over the stovetop, the dulce de leche finally formed enough to call it quits. However, as we continued to strive to make it into ice cream, something happened in the ice cream maker–things didn’t stay cold! In fact, though we had cooled the dulce de leche (or so we thought), it actually warmed the ice cream making bowl to the point that ice cream was just a dream. So we finally turned it off after 30 minutes, transferred the liquid to a container, and put it in the freezer. Even after an hour, it was only lukewarm, but at least solidified enough to eat as a soupy custard! By the next day, we were able to scoop it out in its most frozen state, and have “ice cream.” But this ice cream was like none before–it was very very creamy, thick, and almost chewy, depending on how much dulce de leche you got in each bite. Yet despite all the flaws, the flavor was ah-maze-ing. Perfectly sweet like dulce de leche should be, even if it was more of a custard than an ice cream. Did we enjoy it? Yes. Would we try it again? Maybe. Would we buy pre-made dulce de leche? Most likely.
Notes: We used two 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk since it reduces while heating.
Dulce de Leche Ice Cream (adapted from 101 Gourmet Ice Cream Creations; serves 6-8)
2 14-oz. cans sweetened condensed milk, reduced to about 2 cups
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar, separated
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Begin by making dulce de leche: over medium-low heat, constantly stir 2 cans sweetened condensed milk with a whisk, until caramelization occurs. This process can take up to one hour, so prepare yourself! Do not to let the milk boil at any point.
Once dulce de leche is prepared and cooling, begin making normal ice cream recipe. Whisk 2 egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar until light yellow and fluffy. Whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Add heavy cream, milk and vanilla extract, whisking until combined. Stir in dulce de leche until smooth. Chill for at least one hour. Once chilled, place mixture in ice cream machine and set for 25-30 minutes. When thick and ice cream-like, enjoy!*
*Ours did not ever really turn into “ice cream” as we usually think of it…it kind of looked more like custard. We had to freeze it in a container overnight before it turned into a thicker ice cream.