Several years ago a neighbor from Mexico gave me her updated version of Dulce De Leche made in a Crock Pot or slow cooker. Originally this confection was made in pottery pots which are used extensively for stovetop cooking in Mexico.
Mrs. Obregon told me that she was thrilled when she got a Crock Pot because it made preparing things like this so much easier – no need for constant attention.
This is a traditional recipe that can be made with 100% goat milk, 100% cow milk or a combination.
Whichever product you use, this results in a delicious confection. In my opinion it is far superior to the version made with sweetened condensed milk. It is ideal for use in the Tres Leches cake, a Mexican favorite.
This is made in a 2 quart Crock Pot or slow cooker. You can double or triple the recipe if you have larger slow cookers, just allow more time for it to thicken and attain the caramel color that indicates it is done.
1 Mexican (or other) vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 cups regular goat milk, do not use low fat
2 cups regular milk
1 2/3 cups raw cane sugar (I have made it with the Stevia/Sugar baking mix (Truvia) with excellent results.) If you have a Hispanic supermarket near, look for “azucar” raw washed sugar.
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 cup water
Mix the milks together in a quart measure.
Pour 3 cups of the milk (refrigerate the remaining cup) into the slow cooker and add the vanilla bean and sugar and turn heat control to high and mix with a whisk to make sure the sugar has dissolved.
As soon as the mixture has warmed to about 140 degrees, add the water with the baking soda and whisk again.
Do not cover the cooker.
Continue cooking for 6 to 8 hours, gently stirring about every 2 hours, if it reduces sooner (some slow cookers work at higher temps than others) go to the next step.
Remove the vanilla bean, wash it and set it aside to dry and stick it into your sugar canister to flavor the sugar.
Meanwhile, with a silicone high temp spatula, scrape down the crust that has formed on the sides and stir it into the mixture.
If foam forms do not remove it, simply stir down into the mixture.
Reduce the temperature to medium and continue cooking. Stir occasionally, about every 30 minutes until the mixture has thickened, it should pour like honey.
This should take about 2 hours.
Near the end of this time, warm the remaining cup of milk in the microwave then stir into the mixture in the slow cooker. Mix well and transfer to a sterilized quart jar and place the cap lightly on the jar, do not seal.
Allow it to cool to room temperature then tighten cap and refrigerate.
It will keep for three months in the refrigerator.
I usually start this late in the evening and leave it to cook overnight. If you will be away and want to prolong the cooking period, reduce the heat and cover the pot to slow evaporation.