I usually make dulce de leche with whole milk, sugar, and vanilla in a saucepan over the stovetop, but I had heard of that mythical method of putting a can of condensed milk in boiling water…with the danger of the can exploding and flinging hot, skin-melting sugar all over the kitchen/you. I did the research and found that you can actually do this and not have to extract aluminum shards out of your face. All you have to do is get a can of sweetened condensed milk, peel off the label, and poke two holes in the top on opposite sides. Then you put it in a saucepan with water about an inch from the top and simmer for a few hours, 3 for a runny dulce the leche and 4 for a more solid dulce de leche. You do have to keep checking on it and adding water when the level drops. The can makes a rattling noise in the pot while it simmers, which was ominous to me since I was still paranoid about it exploding. Those that find it annoying, however, can put a rag at the bottom of the pot, according to this site, which details many different ways to make dulce de leche. I’ve read on other sites that you don’t have to poke the holes in the can if you keep it completely submerged, but it’s a little too harrowing for me. Anyway, once the hours have passed, you remove the can from the water with tongs and let it cool. Once it cools, open it with a can opener, pour into a container, and stir to incorporate the chunks at the bottom.
The verdict: Pretty easy and carefree if you’re not paranoid like me. It tastes fine, but I think the recipe I use is much tastier–and safer. In the future, I’ll stick to that recipe.