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Dulce de Leche Custard

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dulce de leche custard

dulce de leche custard

Dulce de leche was one of my favorite desserts growing up in Peru, although there we called it manjar blanco or white delicacy.  There are actually different types of dulce de leche and they come in a range of  shades from white to deep brown depending mostly on how long you cook it. Dulce de leche is really nothing more than milk and sugar cooked for a long time with thickener added.  But the invention of condensed milk was revolutionary to the  making of dulce de leche. All it took was boiling the condensed milk can in water for a few hours instead of stirring ingredients until eternity the way our great grandmothers and even our grandmothers did.

dulce de leche on black Since I stopped eating dairy I have missed dulce de leche tons.  My grandmother and I would just spoon it from the can to eat or spread it on cookies and make desserts out of it.  I didn’t want a pot of the dulce luring me from the refrigerator so I made custard instead that would be divided among a few small cups.  I reasoned that this would be a deterrent to me eating the whole thing in a day or two.  Terrible reasoning since it wasn’t a deterrent at all.  In the end the custard was brilliant so I couldn’t stay away.

vanilla on blackSince coconut milk is thicker than other milks I thought it would make a perfect base for the dulce.  Coconut sugar is already dark and caramely tasting so it made a perfect combination with the milk and it was key in reducing the cooking time.

coconut milk on blackThe amount of Agar I used as thickener made the custard dense and that’s what I wanted for this particular dessert.  If you want a softer consistency and more of a pudding reduce the Agar by half.

up close vanilla beanDark, spicy and sweet.  The vanilla scent from the bean permeated the more I scraped.    You can use regular vanilla extract but the taste won’t be as pure as with the bean.  Adapt as you like though.  The kitchen should be a total exploration.

lemon rinds

mix for dulce de leche dessert

pretty dessert dishes on blackThe dishes and antique utensils looked so pretty together that I had to take a photo.  Try mismatching your custard cups for an eclectic look.

flatenning tops to dessert

dulce de leche dessert from top view

I couldn’t  help but taking a bite as I photographed.  I reasoned that the photograph would look much more appealing to you with a bite taken out?  Mama mia, all this reasoning in the kitchen today…


Dulce De Leche Custard
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
This dulce de leche custard will be a dense texture when refrigerated. If you want a softer consistency reduce Agar by half. Chill coconut milk cans in freezer for 45 minutes and then transfer to refrigerator to chill completely for about 6 hours before whipping. If you want a sweeter dessert just add ¼ cup more of coconut sugar and it will be sweeter without overpowering with a sugary taste.
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 3 cups coconut milk
  • 4 vanilla bean strips
  • ¾ cup coconut sugar
  • 6 pieces lemon rind
  • 4 tablespoons Agar flakes
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 cans coconut milk chilled (see note above on chilling method)
  • Strawberries for garnish
  1. With a sharp small knife cut a vertical line down each vanilla bean and scrape vanilla from the insides
  2. In a medium pan add non-dairy and coconut milks and vanilla
  3. Bring to a boil
  4. Reduce heat and add sugar stirring to dissolve
  5. Add lemon rind and bring to a boil again
  6. Reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes stirring occasionally
  7. Meanwhile open chilled coconut milk cans, skim white part and put into a bowl
  8. Discard remaining coconut milk (clear milk)
  9. In a medium to large bowl whip coconut milk for 2 minutes until it peaks and refrigerate until ready to use
  10. In a small bowl combine Agar and lemon juice
  11. Add lemon juice mixture to milk mixture and bring to a boil
  12. Reduce heat and cook 5-7 minutes stirring until Agar is completely dissolved (small gelatin like strips will disappear)
  13. Turn heat off and let caramel mixture cool for 10-15 minutes
  14. Run caramel mixture through a small wire colander and into the coconut whip
  15. Gently fold in caramel mixture into the coconut whip
  16. Place mixtures into a food processor and process until you have a smooth cream
  17. Drop spoonfuls of caramel cream into small cups
  18. With a frosting or regular flat knife flatten tops until smooth
  19. Refrigerate custard cups 6 hours until set and dense
  20. Top with strawberries and serve (strawberries optional)

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6 Responses

  1. Oh goodness, I don’t usually like custards, but this I could do!

  2. Celine says:

    Did you mean agar flakes or powder? I used powder and it became too firm. I know the flakes are less potent, maybe they would work better?

    • Tabatha says:

      Hi Celine! Thanks for your question. I am sorry your custard came out too firm. It is supposed to be a firm custard but I can see what you mean. I did use Agar flakes and not powder. I am sorry if I wasn’t clear in my recipe and I will change it. When using the agar flakes you may want to reduce the amount to get an even softer consistency than what my recipe calls for and see how that works. Let me know how it comes out!

  3. Michelle says:

    Is the 3 cups of coconut milk that you cook also from a can, or is it the kind from a carton? Thanks : )

    • Tabatha says:

      Hi Michelle, sorry I am just replying but we welcomed a new baby last week! The coconut milk is from the can because I find it thicker and it also separates easier in the refrigerator for making whipped cream. Hope this helps!

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