Dulce de Leche Ice Cream

Oct 29, 2007

My dad made up a bunch of dulce de leche a while back; if you’re going to boil one can, you might as well fill the pot. For those who don’t know, the easiest way to make dulce de leche, a caramelized milk product popular in South and Central America, is to boil a can of sweetened condensed milk for two to three hours. At the shorter end of that range, you’ll end up with viscosity similar to a caramel syrup; longer and it turns into a thick, spreadable paste, not unlike Nutella.

I have seen numerous references on the internet of people not wanting to boil a can for fear of it exploding, but this trepidation is unfounded - boiling is a normal part of the canning process. The contents of the can are put in, the can is sealed and then it is brought to 100°C or even hotter to sterilize the elements within. Leaving a can in boiling water on the stove is perfectly safe, assuming the pan doesn’t run dry, the water will keep the system, can included, from breaking the boiling point. That’s just basic thermodynamics. As mentioned previously, it’s worthwhile to boil a few cans at once, since the energy expenditure of keeping a pot simmering on the stove is nearly identical.

To make the ice cream, combine these ingredients and toss it into your ice cream maker:

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can dulce de leche
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups milk
Vanilla to taste (1-3 teaspoons)

I used thick (3 hour) dulce de leche, which lends a very strong flavor and skim milk, because it was in the fridge. To get everything to combine, I had to stir it on the stove for about 10 minutes. Don’t just let milk sit on the stove unstirred, however; it grows a nasty skin quite quickly. If you don’t have another can of sweetened condensed milk, it can be replaced by another cup of cream, a half cup of milk and a cup of sugar.