My dear friend Stephanie (who already kindly shared her grandma’s tamales recipe and her mum’s peach cobbler recipe with d:d-readers) has not only sent me the most delicious treat, but delivered a fantastic ice cream recipe (I SO MEAN THAT! Probably my favorite ice cream EVER!) and guest post along:
I’m sure not exactly sure how Nicky and I discovered we shared a passion for food. At first, we were so obsessed, we didn’t notice it was nearly all we talked about. As die Ausländerin (foreigner) in Munich still trying to get a hold on everything from the U-Bahn to the language to the market, I was never so grateful as the day Nicky took me on a little culinary shopping tour. We toured the cheese counter at the Marienplatz Kaufhof and, as only Nicky could, charmed them out of samples. We perused cured meats, discussed important matters — like what was the best dried pasta from Italy — and didn’t hesitate to stop at Café Tambosi for hot chocolate and a sweet treat. Ever since, we’ve traded food ideas and enjoyed introducing each other to new things. So when I became reacquainted with Cajeta, I knew just who to send it to…
It had been about ten years since I last had my share of Cajeta. Back then, I was attending the Universidad Mesoamericana in Oaxaca, México with my sister and making the most of any free time by immersing ourselves in “cultural experiences” (code for “local cuisine”). We couldn’t have been happier with all the delicious specialties that Oaxaca had to offer. The street fare was unprecedented. The tclayuda stand which appeared in the late night hours on Calle Independencia was a fiesta for our taste buds, and my sister and I could hardly pass a paleta (fruit popsicles) or grilled elote (corn) vendor without stopping. There was a bakery directly across from the entrance to the university that regularly beckoned us inside. Our university was just a block from the zócalo (plaza) where you could get a great café con leche or wander into the central market. This made for great adventures with our newfound friends who introduced us to things like chapolines (fried locusts), all the flavors of ice cream one could imagine, and drinks new to us like atole and agua de jamaica. But a special favorite was Cajeta, a sweetened caramelized goat’s milk, similar to dulce de leche. We ate it on top of thin cookies and justified each bite as a cultural experience.
As fate would have it, I passed a jar of Cajeta in the store not long ago and couldn’t believe my eyes. It was the same brand we used to buy in Oaxaca, same size, same lovely memories. So as I was creating the menu for a Mexican-themed dinner party and trying to come up with the perfect dessert, I remembered my old fondness for Cajeta and incorporated it into a simple custard for ice cream. What a hit! The rich and unique flavor of caramelized goat’s milk blended with the cow’s milk custard is a great exclamation point to most any dinner or a delicious treat just by itself.
Note: Recipe can be halved, if your ice cream maker only allows for 1 qt (about 1l). Also, if your market doesn’t offer a Mexican food section, buy online here or here, or make your own Cajeta.
(Nicky: German readers might want to give it a try here.)
In a heavy saucepan, combine the milk and 2 cups/500ml of heavy cream. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add the seeds (including the bean) to the mixture. Cook over medium heat until bubbles form around the edges of the pan.
While cooking the milk mixture, combine the egg yolks, sugar, and remaining cream in a bowl, and whisk until smooth and sugar starts to dissolve.
Submerge the closed jar of Cajeta into a pot or sinkful of hot, but not boiling water until needed. This will make it easier to incorporate into the custard.
Remove the milk mixture from the heat and whisking constantly, gradually add about ½ cup (125ml) of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture (important for good results: pour slowly so as not to cook the egg mixture). Wisk until smooth. Now pour egg mixture into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly and keeping the custard at a low simmer. Do not let the custard boil, or you will have scrambled egg ice cream instead. It is ready when it is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon and your finger leaves a trail when drawn through the custard, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the warmed Cajeta, and whisk hard until smooth. Strain custard through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl, discarding the vanilla bean or reserving it for another purpose.
Place the bowl in a larger bowl or kitchen sink, partially filled with ice cubes and water. Stir custard periodically until cool. Cover, with the plastic wrap directly touching the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, minimum 3 hours.
Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and freeze. Transfer to a plastic container and freeze ice cream until firm, or overnight, before serving.
Helado de Cajeta
Recipe source: Stephanie Kunstle
Active time: 1.5 hours, Chill time: 3 hours, Freeze Time: 20 minutes in machine and overnight to harden
Ingredients (makes about 2 quarts/2 liters):
3 cups/750 ml whole milk
3 cups/750 ml heavy cream
1 Mexican vanilla bean
12 large egg yolks
0.5 cup/125 g sugar
1 jar (10.9 oz/310g) of Coronado brand Cajeta Quemada