I’m a little stubborn in some ways. If at first I don’t succeed, I’ll try and try again until it is physically and mentally impossible. There are recipes I try over and over again because I just can’t get them right. I’ve tried making dulce de leche cortada four times and each time, for unknown reasons, I failed. Dulce de leche cortada is like regular dulce de leche caramel but its texture is chunky, kind of like cottage cheese. It is a Cuban dish but other countries in the Caribbean eat it as well. (Plus Venezuela, which is close enough.) You “cut” the milk into curds by adding lemon juice or vinegar before caramelizing it. I had half a liter of milk I needed to get rid of so I decided to give it another good ole try.
I used a recipe from Three Guys from Miami but I changed a couple things and I cut the portions down to roughly half a liter of milk, but I got lazy with the real math and I made it too sweet. Other than that, it turned out right, finally. At least I think so. I may have caramelized it too much…I ate it after it cooled for about 20 minutes (do NOT by any means touch this when it’s hot) and it was soft and warm and easy to eat, but after refrigerating it, which is what most recipes called for, it became much more like caramel candy, which is not bad, but I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be this way. When my great aunt Tia Edesa made it for our family reunion last summer, I could easily spoon it to my mouth, so I’m not sure I got it completely right. She doesn’t use the eggs, she just uses milk, lemon or vinegar, and sugar. Hers also had a much lighter color than mine and the pictures I found online, so she didn’t caramelize it as much. Makes sense.
Nevertheless, it’s the closest I’ve ever gotten to getting it right. Although this dessert is by no stretch of the imagination healthy, I did make it with local and/or organic ingredients. It’s a long process, so I wouldn’t quite recommend it, but if you’re curious, go for it. I think I would rather have regular dulce de leche. (You can even make it from canned condensed milk.) You don’t really see this stuff very often; I had never heard of this or seen it in ANY cookbooks or anywhere until my mom and dad told me about it. I’ll have to make it for them sometime to get their opinions on how I can make it right, if I’m missing the mark. Knowing my stubbornness, I won’t rest until it’s right. Which reminds me that I need to try making habichuelas con dulce again.
Here’s a series of pics showing the transformation: