I'm sure there are those out there who know how to make it and also know that it basically is just sweetened condensed milk that has been cooked for a few hours until it caramelizes into a rich dark brown yumminess.
I've been wanting to make some for a while but never got around to it, until this Thanksgiving when I wanted to make a Dulce De Leche Apple Pie and realized that I either had to buy it, or, finally put my reservations aside and make it myself.
If I had only known how easy this was, believe me, I would have been making it a very long time ago.
Now the most common way to make it, is to submerge a can of condensed milk into a pot of water, and then boil it for 2 to 4 hours. Some people have never had problems doing it this way, while others say that it's not safe as the can may explode. The trick though is to make sure that the can is ALWAYS covered with water.
Just to be on the save side, I did it a different way, much safer but equally easy, I found the directions over at David Lebovitz.
Homemade Dulce de Leche
Preheat the oven to 425° F (220° C).
Pour one can (400 gr/14 ounces) of sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk) into a glass pie plate or shallow baking dish. Stir in a few flecks of sea salt.
Set the pie plate within a larger pan, such as a roasting pan, and add hot water until it reaches halfway up the side of the pie plate.
Cover the pie plate snugly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 to 1¼ hours. (Check a few times during baking and add more water to the roasting pan as necessary).
Once the Dulce de Leche is nicely browned and caramelized, remove from the oven and let cool. Once cool, whisk until smooth.
Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Warm gently in a warm water bath or microwave oven before using.
By the way, I also made one can using the traditional way and didn't have any exploding cans going on, but I did watch over it carefully and made sure that it was completely submerged in water, I also waited until the can was completely cool before opening it.
One thing I noticed though, this way didn't produce as rich of a dark brown color as the oven method did. Not that it matters, they're both delectable but if you're wanting a darker brown, try the recipe above.
Homemade Dulce de Leche (On the stove)
Credit: The Cooking Photographer
Sweetened condensed milk in cans (You can do several at a time and store extras in your cupboard)
1 Big deep pot
A tea kettle
Remove the labels. Place the cans in the pot and cover cans completely with water at least two inches above the top of the cans. Bring the water to a boil. After it starts to boil set two timers; one for 4 hours and the other for thirty minutes. Turn down the heat if the boil becomes overly vigorous.
Meanwhile fill the tea kettle with water and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and leave on the burner. After the 30 minute timer is up refill the water that has evaporated from the pot with the water from the tea kettle. Turn the timer on for 30 more minutes and repeat until the 4 hours is up. You must keep the water filled! Exploding cans are not good!
Once 4 hours is up, turn the heat off from under the pot and let the cans cool completely in the pot of water for a couple hours. Once cool, remove the cans and rinse them off under the sink and dry them with a towel.
That’s it. Now you can open the cans and enjoy the world’s easiest caramel type sauce.
Refrigerate any leftovers in a separate container.