Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Making Sweetened Condensed Milk

My husband loves icecream.

A meal is not complete unless there is an icecream course.

Therefore, I make a lot of icecream...and not a variety of flavours and colours...just one...vanilla.

I have been experimenting with a few different versions, including one with a custard base.  You know the one, real icecream.  But apparently that's not what he's after.  He quite prefers icecream made from sweetened condensed milk, cream and vanilla extract...full stop.  No skin off my nose really because it couldn't be easier.  A tin of condensed milk, a 600ml carton of cream and a splash of vanilla extract, whizzed up in the Thermomix with the butterfly in place for 40 seconds, straight into the icecream machine and 60 minutes later, delicious vanilla icecream.

I was pretty happy with where we were with this until recently.  I have read that a few people boycott Nestle products on the grounds of their appalling treatment of women and babies in many third world countries, and by their reckless use of advertising elsewhere.  I hadn't gone so far as to boycott them because, to be honest, I don't buy many of their products anyway...except condensed milk.  Secondly, I am looking to reduce the amount of sugar we are eating.  I have noticed that unless I make something myself, it's easy not to realise, or to have a full understanding, of the amount of sugar in it.  Condensed milk is a classic example.  We all know that it's sweet, right, but dear oh dear, I really had no idea!!
Poor Man's Dulce de Leche: immediately after cooking (very pourable)
There are two tricks with this recipe.  One is how long to cook it for, and the other is the speed.  Me, I cooked it too long today and have ended up with "Poor Man's Dulce de Leche".  Not a bad outcome in my opinion ;-), but not what I was aiming for.  I cooked it for 20 minutes initially and then kept cooking it in 10 minute increments until I had cooked it for a total of 50 minutes.  I think when I checked it at 40 minutes, I didn't give due consideration to the fact that this mixture thickens on cooling.  As it turns out, 40 minutes was probably enough, although I'll need to do it again to confirm.  Good thing there will be another time!
Poor Man's Dulce de Leche: 10 minutes after cooking (still really hot)
The speed is also important as it needs to be cooked without the MC in place to allow maximum evaporation, but if the speed is too low, the mixture will boil over and you'll have a sticky, sugary mess all over your precious Thermomix and bench.  You must set the speed dial to either 4.5 or 5.  Speed 4 is too slow.

Taste-wise, what I have now in my fridge has a slight taste of the raw sugar that I used, so I certainly wouldn't be using this mixture for say, a banoffee pie, but I have tasted the icecream I made with it, and I think it's pretty good (I only used 200g of this mix instead of 400g that I normally use with "proper" condensed milk).  I definitely can't taste the raw sugar.
Poor Man's Dulce de Leche: after refrigeration (sticky, gooey, caramelly yumminess)
My ultimate aim with this project is to find other sweeteners that I can use with this method instead of sugar.  My next test will be with ground Rapadura (when I get my hands on some), which I know has a stronger taste than raw sugar.  I only hope that when it goes into the icecream mix the taste of it is reduced.  Some fun experimentation to come...

Ingredients

  • 1 litre milk
  • 750 grams sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions

Place all ingredients in TM bowl and cook at Varoma temp for 40-45 minutes at speed 4.5-5 with MC off.


Happy days, my friends :)

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