You boiled a can?!
Why… yes, yes I did.
And I’d do it again, too.
The Tuesdays with Dorie bunch last Tuesday did these snickery squares that looked very amazingly yummy. What impressed me though was when I read how CB had to make dulce de leche to use in her recipe experience. After following the TwD blogs about, quite a few resorted to making it themselves. I’d tried it once before, just boiling the can of condensed milk but it didn’t work out. No, it did not explode… but it never thickened. It was a weak and sad caramel, not the rich thickness that it was meant to be. So, I resolved to the fact that there HAD to have been something I missed somewhere… some mythical step that I kept blinking out on with every recipe that told me that boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk would give me dulce de leche.
Now, everyone seems to fear the exploding can. I am fearless. And, much like the legend of the toilet that got tossed from a building near campus during an orientation week many years ago, I felt the exploding can was just a cooking urban legend. No one I knew had had a can explode on them. And even though the can itself said to never heat a closed can, I really thought that it was just like the “CAUTION: HOT!” warning on McDonald’s coffee. Surely if you were careful the can would have no need to explode. The important thing was to just let it do it’s own thing and let it cool completely before contemplating opening it (this I learned the hard way but that was during my last foray into dulce de leche). I had to explain this last principle to my housemate.. and it had to do with Boyle’s Law of pressure and temperature. Anyways, that’s not important.. what IS important was that I had a can of yumminess that I ended up digging into with a spoon at the end.
What I did was removed the paper wrapping off the can and found a sizeable pot where the can could fit upright and still have some extra space above it. I filled it with water until it surpassed the top of the can, then laid the can over onto it’s side. I NEVER opened the can. I turned the water full blast until it started to simmer, then I turned it to low-medium heat. My stove is super slow and low, so I could safely do this to maintain a nice light simmer. I left the can there, adding more water to ensure the level never went too low that the can would ever be uncovered. I think I left it for 4 hours, I kind of lost track. I took the can, stuck it on a plate and put it in the fridge for 6 hours.
Then I cracked that bad boy open.
Since I didn’t immediately think of anything to have with it, I ate a few spoonfuls of it by itself. I love caramel, so that made me really happy to eat my success. It was scary, but anyone I told about this method seemed to think it was frightening. My housemate was once again amazed by my talent. Though how much talent there is in boiling a can, I really don’t know. But, I was a happy camper and now I wish I had some cake to pour this stuff onto.