Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Cajeta

A few weeks ago somebody asked Rick Bayless via Twitter what to do with goat's milk. He excitedly replied "CAJETA!!!" Curious, I first googled to find out cajeta is like a dulce de leche. A sweetened milk (usually goat) cooked down until it becomes a thick, syrupy treat with caramel undertones. I flipped to the index of my Authentic Mexican cookbook to see if cajeta was in there. I was in luck!

I've mentioned a few times that we get our eggs fresh every week from Johnny's mom who has a lot of hens and a few roosters. She also has 3 goats for milk, which Johnny's little brother prefers over cow's milk. I asked during our Sunday visit if she had some to spare and she happily handed over a quart-sized (4 cup) jar. If you are unable to find goat milk in your store you can use cow's milk, the end result will just taste different.

1 quart (4 cups) goat milk
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp corn syrup
1/2" cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp grain alcohol (or sherry, rum, or brandy)

In a medium saucepan combine the milk, sugar, corn syrup, and cinnamon. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently.

Dissolve the baking soda and water together. Remove the pan from the heat and add the baking soda mixture. It will bubble up, use a spoon to stir it down.

Return the pan to the heat and adjust the heat so the liquid simmers in a steady roll. It took me a little bit of playing, but it eventually landing a hair above medium-high. Stir regularly as the mixture reduces. The bubbles will begin to change from small, quick-bursting to larger and glassier in 25-40 minutes. This took me about 30-35 minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir frequently, washing the spoon each time until the mixture thickens into a caramel-brown syrup that is a little thinner than corn syrup. I read when you drag the spoon in the pan and the mixture is thick enough to part so that you can see the bottom of the pan, it is done.

Strain the cajeta through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl or sterilized jar. Let cool a few minutes and stir in the alcohol (I used brandy). Cool completely and then store in the refrigerator, it will keep for months. Yields about 1 1/2 cups. Overall it took about an hour, so make sure you have the time to devote before you start!

This is really yummy and sweet, so hard to believe it derived from milk! Rick suggests eating on wafer cookies, swirled into ice cream, drizzled warm over ice cream like hot fudge, or in crepes with toasted nuts. Guess which one we tried first?

Ice cream of course! Vanilla ice cream, sliced bananas, walnuts, and a drizzle of warmed cojeta. Johnny said it made it taste almost like a creamy flan! Absolutely delicious!


Ok, now for the reveal of my "Creative Writer" award lies from a few posts ago.

1. I don't know how to swim.
False - of course I know how to swim! Growing up on an island where the widest part is 1 mile wide I spent more time in water than dry land! I took swimming lessons for many years, but never was able to pass my junior lifeguard test due to the elusive butterfly, which I've never mastered.

2. I skipped 2nd grade.
False - but I did start kindergarten early. I was 4 turning 5 while all my classmates were 5 turning 6, so throughout school I was always the youngest in my grade.

3. I played the clarinet in middle school band.
False - I played the flute!

4. I type 40 words per minute.
False - I actually type 90 words per minute!

5. I was born in Poughkeepsie, NY.
True - I was born and lived in New York until I was 4, when we moved to the Outer Banks, NC. A lot of my family is still in New York, so we've visited often my whole life.

6. My bellybutton is pierced.
False - perhaps it's a "beach thing" but I went to school with popular girls who got their bellybuttons pierced as early as 13 years old. I've always associated bellybutton piercings with being like them so I never got mine pierced, only ears!

7. I wear a size 6 shoe.
False - I wear a size 8.

16 comments:

Sweet and Savory said...

I'm like you! Young for my grade. My birthday is August 13, so I was always the last to do everything in my group of friends, I hated it!

Jenn@slim-shoppin said...

Wow, what a fancy sauce to make!!

I've never tried goat milk, but I would LOVE to make this!

And, thanks for clearing up the true/false questions!

Michelle said...

hahha OMG Christina you are too cute. I am so much like you! The popular naughty girls in school were the ones who got their belly buttons pierced and it just gave me a BAAAD impression of them. Then I saw it on Britney Spears and i was like....WHAT was that girl thinking??? hahah OK now i obviously accept it becasause it's so common, but I still think ear piercings are much more elegant and pretty. :)

This recipe is TRES interesting!!! I'd love to try it...i can imagine making ice-cream using it and it would taste AMAZING!!! Is that a good idea? hehe

The Diva on a Diet said...

Very interesting! I've never heard of cajeta but I'll bet its delicious. I'm a bit puzzled by the grain alcohol in the recipe, because its flavorless. I think the brandy is a good choice.

Thanks so much for the award, Christina, I enjoyed reading your creative lies! :)

Simply Life said...

huh, I never knew this - thanks for sharing!

A@ Please Don't Eat Me! said...

recipe is awesome!!! love it!!! it looks so good..

umm well, i was kinda right ?? you were in the band!

very cool though i did not know you were from new york!!

Christina said...

Diva I was thinking the alcohol might be to help prolong its shelf life, esp since it is stirred in after the fact to be at 100%. I had no idea what grain alcohol was, but now that I hear it's flavorless I think I was right.

doggybloggy said...

excellent on the cajeta - I love this stuff and ate it so much as a kid - we had a goat - I sure do miss it now!

biz319 said...

Wow, a lot of effort but that looks amazing!! I can totally imagine that over icecream = great job!

Loved the answers to the T&F - I knew you could swim!!

Allie (Live Laugh Eat) said...

My Mexican host family ate SO MUCH cajeta! They put it on eveeeeerything and got me to follow suit. That stuff is delicious!! They bought it in cans though since it was everywhere.

sophia said...

Wow, you are such the foodie! This sounds pretty laborious...all for a sauce! I've never tried this before, nor have I heard of it.

Darn! I was wrong about the truth...I think you mentioned Poughkeepsie to me once...and stupid me, I thought 40 words/minute was fast!

Laura said...

HA! I love your creative lies. I have never seen it called Cajeta but I've seen dulce de leche before, similar right? I have seen one where you put the can in a crock pot and leave it for 4 hours to cook in the can w/the lid intact.

Yours is beautiful.

errign said...

Mmm, that looks yummy! Does goat's milk have a tang similar to goat cheese?

Jessie said...

I was always the youngest in my grade, too! My b-day is in November, so I always felt like the little kid in the class - fortunately that means I usually got pampered :P

My sister brought cajeta back from Mexico once - such an unusual flavor. I like Rick Bayless's recipes, too :)

Christina said...

Laura I think the diff is which milk it's made with.

Errign I think it is tangy. I don't like milk and raaaarely drink it so I wasn't about to try this!! Haha it was 100% fat fresh from the goat , so it was thick. I had to use a spatula to get some out, so that turned my stomach!! J's mom makes cheese for his aunt w/ it.

denise @ quickies on the dinner table said...

Wow! Your cajeta and banana sundae looks amazing! I didn't want to make the sauce until I saw that at the bottom of the post :D