Friday, June 21, 2013

Dairy Free Condensed Milk & Dulce de Leche

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The other day I asked on my Facebook page, "What's something you reeeeaaallly wish you had an allergy-friendly recipe for (and what's the ingredient/s that is stopping you make the original recipe)?" Well. I got lots of comments. Like about 180 of them. And one that was mentioned a few times was dairy free condensed milk, so I thought it was about time I had a go at it.

There are a few dairy free condensed milk recipes online - I had a quick look for Thermomix versions and found this one over at The Thermomix Diaries, which linked back to this one on the Thermomix Recipe Community. Of course, I had to have a play with the recipe to reduce the sugar (too much for me!), change it to a sweetener I prefer, and start with a creamier (dairy free) base instead of milk. And this is what I came up with... So delicious!! 

I've made it a few times now, each time a little different, so here's two different versions - one is just a basic dairy free condensed milk, and the other is a dairy free dulce de leche (caramel) inspired by this recipe over at the UK Thermomix FB page

By the way, great news - not once has it boiled over, or even gotten close. I know that's the dreaded danger when you make condensed milk or dulce de leche with cow's milk. (I remember the horror stories my friend Bel told me about the sticky mess all over her countertop and under her Thermomix! Eek!) Cow's milk has a tendency to do this when boiled, but I have never had a problem with dairy free milks and creams. (Hopefully no one proves me wrong!) 

Update note: Ok, someone proved me wrong. Theirs boiled over. :( So I've halved the amounts, reduced the temp and raised the speed. Sorry, it takes a little longer now, but it's better to play it safe, I think. You can double the recipe and it shouldn't overflow (hasn't for me), but it may take up to 1 1/2 hours to cook. 

For both of these recipes, you will need a thick coconut milk or cream to use as the base. Different brands of coconut creams will need different cooking times, depending on how thick or thin they are. I prefer to make my own, but tinned is fine. When you're cooking the condensed milk or dulce de leche, check it after about 40 mins to see if it's thick yet - I usually find it's closer to an hour though. Because every kind is different, it is a bit of trial and error.

Coconut Milk 

(Makes approx. 800g thick coconut milk, plus approx. 500g thinner coconut milk)

- 300g organic dessicated or shredded coconut (preferably preservative free)
- 1300g water

Mill coconut for 20 seconds on speed 9.

Add 800g water and blend for 1 minute on speed 9.

Strain coconut milk through a nut milk bag into a bowl, squeezing it out really well to get as much thick milk as you can. 

Set the milk aside and tip the coconut pulp back into the Thermomix. Add another 500g water, blend once more for a minute on speed 9, re-strain into a separate bowl, and you have milk for another recipe. 

Note: You can freeze the coconut pulp, and when you have enough you can dehydrate it at 60C until very dry, then mill 1 min/speed 9 to make coconut flour.

Dairy Free Condensed Milk

500g coconut cream or thick coconut milk (recipe above)
100g pure organic maple syrup

Place ingredients in the Thermomix bowl and cook 60 min/100°C/speed 3.5placing simmering basket instead of measuring cup onto mixing bowl lid, to let steam out.

Leave to cool for a bit in the bowl, blend gently again on speed 3-4 for a few seconds (as it sometimes separates a little), then carefully scrape into a glass jar. This recipe will make about 200g, but can be doubled if needed. (Times will vary.)

[Note: When it's cold in the fridge you may notice little bits of coconut cream flecked through it that have kind of solidified - don't stress, if you whiz it up they disappear. And for most recipes, it wouldn't matter anyway as it will be cooked or blended with other ingredients.]

Okay, and now for the amazing Dairy Free Dulce de Leche!

Dulce de Leche on a brownie... decadence!

Dairy Free Dulce de Leche 

(makes approx. 250g of Dulce de Leche; recipe can be doubled but will need approx. 20 more mins to cook)

reserved coconut milk (450g)
100g organic pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (not essence)
1/4 tsp sea salt

Measure 450g of the thick coconut milk back into the Thermomix bowl. 

Add other ingredients to the bowl and cook 60 min/100°C/speed 3.5, placing simmering basket instead of measuring cup onto mixing bowl lid, to let steam out.

Here's how your dulce de leche should look once it's reached room temp. It may thicken a little more in the fridge, but can be returned to room temp if you like before using.

That's it! Too easy. I was jumping around the kitchen in excitement when I opened the lid of the Thermomix after making this! And if you don't believe me, just ask my taste testers - they all agreed that it was totally amazing and exciting and were very happy they'd happened to stop by for a visit at just the right time!! ;)

My taste testers... and the verdict was YUM!!
(You really should try dulce de leche on warm, freshly baked spelt bread rolls - mmmm!!)

This recipe results in about a little less than a cup of dulce de leche. Sorry I can't be more definite than that - after eight people sampled it I realised I'd forgotten to weigh out the amount! Ah well, must make it again... :D

Try it with fresh strawberries... mmmm!
(The dulce de leche in the photo above was made with coconut sugar, so is thicker and darker)


- Try a different sweetener - honey, yacon syrup, rice malt syrup, rapadura, coconut sugar... different sweeteners will result in different colours, but they should all work fine. Adjust amount to taste.

- If you can't have coconut, you could use other dairy free milks, but make sure they're thick and creamy enough that you'll get a nice thick result, or just cook for longer if needed.

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