That's probably not a phrase anybody hears regularly, but today it's my favorite topic. I'm going to talk about my favorite holiday dessert and about how to avoid the dreaded caramely shrapnel.
Since you missed out on this dessert for Thanksgiving, file this one away and make it for Christmas. While lacking in impressive table presentation (perhaps some would argue otherwise), it's fabulous.
Welcome to Caramel Pudding 101.
Go buy one can of sweetened condensed milk. Don't buy evaporated milk or you'll be sorry. We'll wait here. Trust me, unless you have 50+ people coming, you only need one can.
Friendly can of sweetened condensed milk. This one is about 14 oz. It has no clue what's coming for it.
Remove the label.
That was easy!
Remember that reading the label is bad for you.
This warning is to avoid the caramely shrapnel. Trust me, if you follow my directions, all will be fine. They used to have this recipe on the label anyhow, so this is merely a public service to preserve it.
Now, here's the important part. Get out a relatively deep saucepan. Put in your can of sweetened condensed milk, and cover with cold water.
Kind of like this.
Turn on the stove and boil the water gently.
The pan will be almost full so there's no sense trying to bring this to a full rolling boil, but make sure you have bubbles coming up around it.
This is the very important, and final, cooking instruction. Boil for 2 hours. Whatever you do, do not leave the kitchen. Whatever you do, do not let the water level get below the level of the can and expose the can to air. You will probably need to add water every 10-15 minutes unless your saucepan is unusually deep. If the can is exposed to air, it will explode, covering your kitchen in caramely shrapnel.
However, this recipe is well worth the attention. Since it's a holiday, you're probably in the kitchen all day anyhow and you can stand to keep an eye on one more pan. If you get bored, turn the can over a couple times to make sure all sides get heated evenly. If you want to make ice cream topping, boil for about an hour. If you want something more crystallized and chunky, boil for three hours. But whatever you do, watch the water level.
After 2 hours, remove from heat and let the water cool. Drain off and refrigerate can.
When you open the can, this is what you get:
If your family hasn't seen this one before, they will probably be confused when you arrive at the dessert table with a tin can and a can opener, but they'll be sorry they mocked your artless presentation.
Serve by the spoonful, with whipped cream. This stuff is rich.