The last few weeks I have had only one idea in mind and that was to make my own Dulce de Leche. I find the idea of leaving a can of sweetened milk cooking for hours, for it to turn into milky caramel sauce, totally exciting and fantastic!
I have been sick the past week and while I had to remain in bed most of the time – I entertained myself by finally making Dulce de Leche. Making Dulce de Leche is normally a painful process because the sweetened milk needs to be gently heated (for a very, very, very long time) and continuously stirred (also for a very, very, very long time) until it thickens and the sugar and the milk solids in the mixture caramelize. However, there are other ways of making dulce de leche, and one of the easiest ways is simply plunging a can of sweetened, condensed milk in boiling water and allowing it to simmer for a couple of hours….
And so I ended up with a big jar of Dulce de Leche and wondered what to do with it… One morning while I was laying in bed feverish an idea came into my mind: I would make a pear and Dulce de Leche tart covered with crunchy meringue. This is a good example that you can’t control creativity… I just won’t stop about cooking and creating recipes even when I am unwell…
Anyhow so on Friday I woke up feeling a little better and started making my dough and meringues…I also left the pears to marinate in the Dulce de Leche for a little while and then baked the whole thing… and Oh my! What a deliciousness of a tart! I could make it and eat it over and over…
Soft and Crumbly Rustic Pear and Dulce de Leche tart:
Cooking time: 3hrs
Ingredients for the Dulce de Leche: (to make a day ahead)
– 1 can of sweetened, condensed milk
Bring a large pan of water to a rolling boil. Make sure that you put enough water in the pan to completely cover the can you’re about to cook.
Remove the label from the can of sweetened, condensed milk and carefully submerge it into the boiling water using a pair of tongs or a slotted spoon. Make sure you place the can on its side, so it can roll around. If you place the can bottom or top-side down, the boiling water can cause it to bounce up and down, which is really annoying…
Cook the can for 3 hours, making sure the can is covered with water at all times. Add more boiling water if necessary.
Using a pair of thongs, a fork or a slotted spoon, take the can out of the pan and place it onto a heatproof surface to cool. Make sure it has cooled to room temperature before you open the can. Once cooled, stir until smooth.
Cooled dulce de leche can be stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks
Ingredients for the tart:
For the dough:
– 250gr plain flour
– 100gr unsalted butter
– 3tbsp fine caster sugar
– 1 large egg yolk
For the filling and meringue:
– 1 can Dulce de Leche
– 5 to 6 ripped pears
– juice of 2 lemon
– 2 egg whites
– 2tbsp fine caster sugar
Pre-heat your oven to 100C
First start by making your dough: In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and sugar. Add butter, and process until mixture resembles coarse meal, 10 to 20 seconds.
In a small bowl, lightly beat egg yolks. With machine running, add the egg in a slow, steady stream through the feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add a little ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Flatten the dough into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator, and chill at least 1 hour.
While your dough is resting make the meringue. In a glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites until foamy using an electric mixer. Sprinkle in sugar a little at a time, while continuing to whip at medium speed. When the mixture becomes stiff and shiny like satin, stop mixing, and transfer the mixture to a large pastry bag. Pipe the meringue out onto the prepared baking sheet using a large round or star tip – keep in mind that you will glue the little meringue on top of your tart so I would recommend to ensure the meringue are no bigger than 3,5cm diameter.
Place the meringues in the oven. Bake for 1,5 hours, or until the meringues are dry, and can easily be removed. Allow them to cool completely before storing in an airtight container at room temperature.
Now for the pear filling: Slice the pears in 6 equal wedges, remove the seeds and toss with the lemon juice and 3/4 can of Dulce de Leche.
Once you meringue are cooked – heat up your oven to 180C.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface or between sheets of non stick baking paper until 2/3mm thick, or whatever thickness you want and line in your tart tin.
Stir the pears and Dulce de Leche mixture thoroughly to coat the pears in the caramel sauce. Arrange the pears slices slightly overlapping each piece. Use a spatula to scrape all the sauce from the bowl and drizzle over the arranged pears. Place the tart in the oven and bake for about 45min at 180C until the edges are golden, then cover with foil and cook for another 15min until the pears are soft and nicely caramelised.
Remove the pear tart from the oven and allow to cool for at least 40 minutes before adding the meringue on top. To do so use some left over Dulce de Leche and glue the meringue to the tart with the help of teaspoon.
Voilà! Bon appétit 🙂
When pairing desserts and dessert wines, it’s easy to overwhelm the taste buds with sweetness. Instead, choose a wine that’s a touch lighter and less sweet than the dessert—for instance, an effervescent Moscato d’Asti with this Dulce de Leche and pears tart would be perfect.
The Dutch boyfriend’s opinion:
For hours and hours the milk cooked in the kitchen. And while I say cooked, appearently it is more like condensing? Anyway, after a long time I could finally taste this Latte de Leche. And I loved it! It is very difficult for me to describe, but it has a deep flavour, close to sweetness but in the same time not the addictiveness of sweets. Combined with the thin and tasteful crust this dessert was a big succes. Personally I am not a fan of meringue, so at least there is one thing to be critical about!