Remove the label from the can of condensed milk. Do not open the can yet. Take the can and stick it in a pot. Cover it with water.
Put the pot on a stove and turn up the heat. Let the pot and can simmer gently for about one and a half to two hours for runny caramel (dulce de leche), or up to four hours for solid dulce de leche. Add more water, as necessary, when the level boils down too much. Do not let the water level fall below the top of the can.
When it's done, let it cool for a while, and then carefully open up the can and eat directly (for the solid variety) or use as a dessert spread (for the liquid variety). The resulting product should be colored tan or brown.
It can then be spread into a prepared pie shell and covered in whip cream for an excellent pie, or I use it sometimes as a filling between layers of chocolate cakes.
You need to keep a close eye on the can. If it shows any signs of expansion, immediately remove it from the heat and let it cool. If you are concerned at all at the high-pressure nature of the recipe, you may poke a small hole in the top of the can, and lower the water level so that the can is not completely covered. This will allow the internal pressure of the can to be released, but it will also make the recipe take longer (since high pressure reduces cooking time).
Best caramel sauce ever! My mother cooked it for me back in the 1940's and it is still my favorite!!
Jun 23, 2014
Guest Foodie REVIEW:
Have had this for over 50 years. My Grandmother always made it for our birthdays and put it on top of her fabulous cheesecake that took about two days to make. She was so efficient she would do 6 cans at once. Then put them back in the cabinet marked danger! It is still shelf stable because it isn't opened! Then you are risking it only once. I used to send it to people in their Christmas boxes with a bow on top with a note saying open me when you are blue.
May 28, 2014
Amazing....been doing this for years!
Jul 28, 2013
I have made this for years also. I cannot stress enough the importance of making sure the water level remains over the can though. As a young 20 year old, I made this and decided to nap. I heard a loud bang and the can exploded in the kitchen. My mom says that she still finds some in obscure places every now and then, 20+ years later.
Jul 14, 2013
perplexed COMMENT: Do you open the can or leave it sealed? I'm unclear on this but want to try it. Don't want to ruin it!
Jul 8, 2013
If you haven't tried this recipe you must! It makes the most decadent dulce de leche! You can't buy it this good!
Jul 1, 2013
soccer mom REVIEW:
I'd seen this recipe for years but was always too scared to try it. Tried it this weekend and was amazed that it worked! I couldn't believe the caramel set up so nicely.
Oct 10, 2012
Jamie COMMENT: Do you have a recipe for that Ganache?
Jun 27, 2012
cook extraordinaire REVIEW:
yeap, as a cuban, born and 1/3-raised, my mother made the "dulce de leche" in the same fashion. It is fabulous, if you like a different touch of sweet with color. Talk about comfort food..., hurray for simple and delicious.
Nov 23, 2011
This is divine. I got this recipe 35 or 40 years ago from a co-worker and it has been on our holiday menu for years! Sometimes I make a ganache and spread over the top for the chocoholics in our family. Can NOT say enough good things about it.
Mar 8, 2011
Guest Foodie REVIEW:
My Grandmother made this for years. She boiled the Eagle Brand then cooled and sliced. She served a slice on top of a pineapple ring, topped with whipped cream and a cherry. This was a family favorite and tradition
Jan 20, 2011
Guest Foodie COMMENT: Mother used to boil it, then put it in the refrigerator until it was completely cold. She would then cut out both ends of the can and push out the caramel roll. This and graham crackers was delicious