It’s been a tough summer and fall in our Fellowship as in our nation. I hope you will be able to choose a path through the holidays that avoids additional stress, a tall order. Make it your goal to prioritize some rest (extra hours of sleep and idle non-productiveness), move about (little walks, active games, tumbling around with grand/kids), drink water (most of us live a dehydrated life), savor good food (savoring helps you stop when you are full), converse meaningfully (it is so easy to let keyboards and TVs and busy-ness get in the way of strengthening your connections to others), love the people around you (strangers, family and friends), and count your blessings (no matter what is going on in your life, there are some things you can name and celebrate).
Here’s an unusual and delicious recipe to enjoy this holiday season and into the new year. You may never have heard of it, but I guarantee you and the people you permit a taste from your precious supply will never forget that first taste. Dulce de Leche (dool-say day lay-chay) is the Spanish name of this confection, common in Latin America, but also found in some form in many other cultures. This recipe comes from Gourmet (April 2011) and includes a long form (classic) and a short form (short cut) version. I have been making the short form, which starts with 14 oz cans of sweetened condensed milk. I make two pie plates at once. Easy peasy. In my oven, I have found I can extend the bake-time another 30-45 minutes, which yields a darker and thicker spread, but you will want to start with 90 minutes and then experiment as you get used to the process. I’d be happy to send you the “classic” recipe if you’d like to try it.
Shortcut Dulce de Leche (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups)
Heat oven to 425°F with rack in middle. Pour the contents of 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate and cover tightly with foil. Set plate in a roasting pan and add enough hot water to pan to reach halfway up pie plate. Bake milk in middle of oven 45 minutes. Check water level and add additional, if necessary, then continue to bake 45 minutes more, or until milk is thick and brown. Remove pie plate from water bath. Whir contents in blender. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Transfer to a bowl or jar to cool. Keep in fridge for up to three weeks (if it lasts!)
May your holidays be joyous, delicious, and restful,