Manjar Blanco, also known as Dulce de Leche isn't a dessert for itself. But as it's popular throughout South America and used in numerous cakes like Pionono, pastries, cookies like Alfajores and even ice cream in Peru, this sweat, caramel-like, sticky reduction of milk and sugar just belongs here.
Even though Manjar Blanco or Dulce de Leche is easy to find outside South America nowadays, homemade is so much better. The procedure of reducing the sugared milk to a thick and creamy caramel-like paste isn't difficult at all, but takes its time.
And just one recommendation if you want to enjoy a really good Manjar Blanco: stay away from preparing it by boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk in water for 90 minutes. In my opinion the results are more than disappointing and neither the taste nor the pudding-like consistency have anything to do with real Manjar Blanco. Yes I know the traditional preparation is a slow and time consuming process, but be assured it's worth every single minute.
Recipe for Peruvian Manjar Blanco
Ingredients for Peruvian Manjar Blanco
- 1 l fresh whole milk (no skim or "light" milk!)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 250 g sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preparation of Peruvian Manjar Blanco
In a wide and high nonstick pot heat the milk. Once the milk is boiling, reduce heat to low and start whisking. Then carefully add the baking soda. It will foam heavily, so keep stirring to avoid boiling over. Once the volume falls add the sugar and slowly stir until sugar is dissolved.
Let simmer on very low heat, stirring here and there. The trick is finding a good balance between stirring only so much that the milk doesn't boil over or burn and leaving it simmering for enough time to let the liquid evaporate and the sugar caramelize. For the next 20 minutes it seems that nothing really happens. Be patient. Then the mixture slowly changes the color and gets creamier. As soon it's light golden and thickens, it's time to constantly, but slowly stir to avoid burning.
When the Manjor Blanco has a nice dark golden brown color and is very thick and sticky (this should be after about 40 minutes), it's ready. To determine if it has the right consistency, drag a spoon along the bottom of the pot, you should be able to see it for a few seconds; or take a teaspoon out on a small plate, if it stays the way you placed it, it's exactly right.
Remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla extract and let cool down. Give it a stir occasionally.