Friday, August 20, 2010

A trek to South America for dulce de leche

A dinner party-devoured dessert speaks for itself.

A trek to south America for dulce de leche

At least, at the time, that’s what it felt like to make dulce de leche cheesecake, the cover recipe for April’s delicious. But, I’m glad to say, this does have a happy ending – I count this as one of my greatest triumphs. It all started when our friends invited us over for a dinner party. I was in charge of dessert. Because dessert’s kind of my thing; it’s what I do for dinner parties. Hunting around my tried and true recipes, nothing satisfied me and I felt the need to be brave – to experiment, as Emperor D puts it.

Dulce de leche out of the can
I remembered the fantastic looking cheesecake that was on the cover of the April issue of delicious. I’m not normally a fan of cheesecakes, but this looked, well, delicious. Looking through the recipe, I was thinking that Perth has gone leaps and bounds in the food world; I’m sure dulce de leche will be easy to find. Nope. As a workmate of mine can attest, I spent frantic lunchtimes, for two days in a row, phoning every supplier and gourmet supermarket I could think of in metro Perth to find it. In the end, at 3pm on Friday – the day before the dinner party – I admitted defeat and decided to make dulce de leche instead. It’s actually quite simple; simmer a couple of unopened cans of sweetened condensed milk for three hours - making sure you don’t end up with a caramel explosion all over your walls - and presto, your very own South American dairy confection is ready.

Not quite as pretty as delicious' version,
but still, um, delicious!
By the time I’d put the cheesecake in the fridge to set, having made the dulce de leche, then actually put the cheesecake together – all three layers - and baked it, it was, *I think*, around midnight.  Emperor D thought I was nuts. So did I, in my sleep-deprived fog.

But oh, it was so worth it. At the dinner party the next day, it was clear that it was a winner. Putting the finishing touches on – dulce de leche sauce and toffee shards – brought it all together, and literally crowned a culinary achievement. Of course, mine didn’t look as pretty as the one in delicious – I mean, they have food stylists – but it’s all in the taste. Looking round the table of friends with satisfied looks on their faces made what seemed like a trek to South America for dulce de leche worth it.

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