Wish you a very happy new year and many hours of happy kitchen time through this year. Hope you have tried some of the recipes from my earlier blogs. I am waiting for your comments and feed backs. In this blog I have focused on an interesting product- caramelized sweetened condensed milk. I first heard about this in early 1970s from a friend, who also told me how it is made. There after I started making this versatile product often and developed many recipes featuring it. I taught these recipes in my dessert classes and they were always well received. This product, which is also called condensed milk toffee, gained wide exposure when Nigen Macanzie and Chef Ian Dowding created the world famous Banoffee Pie. My students and friends still seek my advice on making caramelized condensed milk sauce /toffee. Here are some of the FAQs and recipes which I am posting as New Year Treats for you.
The colour may vary form light caramel (amber) to rich caramel (rich golden brown) and the consistency may vary from thick pouring sauce to sticky toffee like paste, depending on the recipe in which it is to be used.
The sauce is used as a topping on desserts and the toffee can be used as a filling or frosting on cakes and in pies and tarts. I prefer to cook it to the consistency of toffee and store in refrigerator as it has longer shelf life than the sauce.
Before using it in a recipe, I warm it in a hot water bath (don’t cook) to soften and use as a spread or filling or thin it down with hot milk or water to desired consistency to use as a topping. Also, I like the flavour of rich caramel better than light caramel. The toffee is delicious on its own and kids love to eat it plain or spread on bread or cracker biscuits.
I was making condensed milk toffee by cooking the unopened tin in plenty of water for 1 hour in pressure cooker, until I heard about some rare cases where the water in the pressure cooker dried up and the tin exploded. So, I do not follow or recommend this method now.
I have seen many recipes recommending this method. It takes 2-3 hours and even in this case, care must be taken to ensure that the tins are completely immersed in water during the cooking. Also, I have read the warning by some manufacturers of condensed milk which says “Do not cook in the tin”. So I do not use this method.
Yes. On a double boiler. Empty the contents of the condensed milk tin into a cooking bowl.
Half fill a deeper bowl with water (choose a bowl over which the bowl with condensed milk can “sit” comfortably).
Place the bowl with water on the gas stove and place the smaller bowl over it. When the water in the larger bowl begins to boil, lower the heat to keep the water boiling gently.
Cook stirring the condensed milk often till it is of desired colour and consistency (2 -2 ½ hours). Ensure that there is enough water in the larger bowl during this time.
Condensed milk, when cooked directly, is highly susceptible to burning at the bottom of the pan. So it requires vigorous, constant stirring and cooking on low heat. It becomes sticky and more difficult to stir as it thickens. Hence I avoid this method.
Yes. Microwave takes the least time but constant supervision is needed. Pour the condensed milk in a large microwave safe bowl (to avoid over flowing while cooking).
Use medium (50% for 800-900 watt microwave ovens) and medium low (30% for microwave ovens with higher wattage) power and cook for 8-12 minutes, stirring often to avoid over flowing, till it is of the desired colour and consistency.
I like to make it in an oven (I use Panasonic OTG).Pour the condensed milk in a 24-27cm (8-9”) round oven proof dish.
Place the dish in a larger baking dish or a roasting pan. Pour enough hot water in the larger pan to come up to ½ the level of the smaller dish.
Cover the smaller dish with aluminium foil (press the edges of the foil close to the rim of the smaller dish to seal it and to prevent the foil from touching the water).
Bake in a hot oven (200C; 180C for fan assisted ovens) for 50-60 minutes for a light caramel sauce of thick pouring consistency and 80-90 minutes for a rich golden brown toffee like paste.
If the water in the larger vessel evaporates during baking, replace it with more hot water.
When cooking to toffee consistency, check every 10 minutes after 60 minutes of cooking (in Panasonic OTG the timer also functions as on/off switch. When the set time is up, the oven switches off, thus reducing the risk of burning the toffee.
However, the mixture continues to cook in the hot oven even after it is switched off. So remove it from the oven when done).
If not using the condensed milk sauce/toffee soon after making it, cool and transfer it to a jar with a lid and store in refrigerator (the sauce lasts up to 8 days and the toffee for 10-12 days in the refrigerator).