Saturday, August 25, 2012

Goat's Milk Caramel: Cajeta

Last night, we had some of our homemade ice cream with homemade goat's milk caramel and homemade strawberry jam.  OH.MY.GOSH.  It was soooo good.

homemade ice cream with goat's milk caramel Cajeta

It's been really fun learning how to Cajeta and now we've decided it's so good that we're going to start selling it soon.  This is what the label will look like.  Cool, huh?

Cajeta: One of the products we sell

You could say that cajeta (pronounced kah-Heh-tah) is Mexican Spanish for what other Latin American countries call dulce de leche. The word means “little box,” which is what the confection was stored in back in the 1500s.

What sets cajeta apart from its caramelized milk-and-sugar brethren is that it’s usually made from goat’s milk instead of from cow’s milk. I tend to find dulce de leche a bit cloying, but the goat’s milk used to make cajeta adds a certain tang that mitigates the sweetness. And while goat’s milk can be strong in flavor, its presence in cajeta isn’t prevailing but instead offers an occasional high note, like the ring of a triangle in a symphony of flutes and strings.


The most difficult thing about making cajeta is that you must stand and stir the pot for about an hour and a half, though this tedium can be minimized by having a good book on hand. Comfortable shoes or a stool to sit on aren’t bad ideas, either. But for this penance you are rewarded with a thick, luscious treat that bears no resemblance to its previous self. And it’s so addictive you’ll be hard pressed to do anything but just eat it straight out of the pot with a spoon, though it’s good on ice cream, in crepes and tortillas or on apple slices as well.



Cajeta
Ingredients:
2 quarts of goat’s milk
2 cups of sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean or 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of baking soda

Method:

1. Stir together the milk and sugar in a large pot (make sure the liquid only goes half-way up the sides as it’s going to get frothy at one point and you don’t want it boiling over) and add the cinnamon and vanilla (if using a bean, split it lengthwise, scrape the seeds into the liquid and add the pod as well). Bring to a boil on medium heat while constantly stirring. This will take about 15 minutes.
2. When milk boils, remove from heat and add baking soda (dissolved in a bit of water) to the pot. The mixture will rise and get frothy, but as long as you keep stirring it will be fine.
3. Place the pot back on the stove on medium heat, and stir and stir and stir (though if you need to take a break, leaving the pot unattended for a minute or so won’t cause any harm to the cajeta). Make sure the milk stays at a gentle simmer rather than a raging boil.
4. After about an hour, the milk should start to turn golden brown. Remove the cinnamon stick and the vanilla pod. At this point, it will start to thicken fast, so it’s important to keep stirring so the milk doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan.
5. Keep stirring until the mixture is a rich brown and thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, which will happen in about 15 minutes.
6. Pour into a glass container. It should keep in the refrigerator for a week, though mine has never lasted that long.Notes: You can find goat’s milk at most health-food stores or farmer’s markets. Also, the cajeta gets thicker as it cools, so be sure not to overcook it. If it’s too thick, however, you can thin it by adding hot water.

http://homesicktexan.blogspot.com/2008/03/mexican-sweet-treat-cajeta.html